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Clueless in London

Why is it that when the slightest things goes wrong with the signals or other lame excuse (usually at London Bridge) passengers (with the exception of me) and Bob Crows army run around like chickens with their head cut off having no clue what is happening.

Last week your truly bowls up to see a MASS of people staring skyward (no not at some apparition of the second coming) but at blank timetables and listening to garbled messages informing the masses that Gordon Brown is the second coming (no that’s not it I meant what we are supposed to do where we should go to catch a train).

Now I can be a little forthright (now you probably mean your arrogant, rude, impatient, irritable self we all know and love ed.) but I know where the train usually stops so in my true welsh rugby star way jinked through the crowds (as we should have done this weekend in Auckland) past the prop forward that was this immense lady jammed in the automatic gates to my train and jumped on. I must say there were a few ‘excuse ME’s’ and ‘how rudes’ on the way but sorry you have got to get on the bloody train. So there I was listening to the announcements: ‘the twain at platfoam one is the 17** to graveyard calling at ??????, ?????’. Crap am I on the right train? – now to cut a long story short I wasn’t – so off to platform three as it happens through the mass of humanity coming the other way – ask a guard on the way was this a train to East Croydon – no idea guv – (maybe if I’d asked what the fundamental theory of algebra was I might have had more success) – and jumped on with fifty or so other sweaty passengers on another train – yes the wrong one again – so we all piled off to the next platform for the right one.

Of course dear reader by the time I got to East Croydon I had missed two connections to sunny Lingfield and had to wait for a while for Southern to take me away from all this. Now why is it when a small engineering fault happens, no one knows what’s happening, the staff haven’t a clue, the commuters (me excepted) stand around like cattle with foot and mouth waiting to be chopped, no feedback or info available, and no prospect of the second coming to cap it off either (eh!! Ed.)

When are we going to get organised in this country!!

Christmas Spirit alive and well in East Grinstead

It’s that time of year again when itinerant panhandlers (i.e. carol singers) appear on my door-step attempting to sing a few strangled verses of some long forgotten carol before being sent away with a flea in their ear and a recommendation for a few singing lessons by yours truly. Last year some group of lads came around and made a vague attempt at Silent Night (oh I wish it was when they started). Now it happened they started up just as the Tele was playing up, her in doors was having a moan about my lack of Christmas spirit and that mutt of a sheepdog of mine was attempting to bark the bloody house down whilst attempting to get at said carols singers.

Actually in hindsight it may have been better to let her out … anyhoo in amongst all this cacophony I answered the door just as the second line … holy night … was tailing off into oblivion and a hopeful carol singer put out his hand for what I assumed was some act of supplication. WE DON’T DO THAT HERE CLEAR OFF I said (now RoyMogg readers may wish to know that this in fact is an entirely accurate description of events that occurred that fateful night ed.) and closed the door and turned around and saw my stunned wife and daughter telling me I cannot say that, lack of Christmas spirit etc etc. To my astonishment they run after these erstwhile vagrants apologising … ‘he’s a little tired, worked long hours, miserable git’ and so forth… giving them money for their efforts and wishing them merry Christmas and all that. Shocked I was – I thought I was being very reasonable but ho hum I guess it takes all sorts

In the Christmas spirit an alternative carol:

Good King Wencelas last looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Though the frost was cruel,
and When a poor man came in sight,
Wencelas set the dogs on him …

Merry Christmas to RoyMogg Readers

Meet the Southern Rail Managers

Big Cat Diaries goes to London Bridge

I was in the first class cabin of yer Southern Rail for the daily commute idly glancing through an article ref David Attenbore and his long career of wildlife programming when over the Tannoy our Guard pipes up – “Ladies and Gentlemen I thought I would let you know that today is ‘meet the managers day’ hoorah! and starting at 0730 at London Bridge Southern Rail have arranged some victims to talk to you about your experiences with the service”. “If you have any difficulty with finding them just ask one of the station staff (AKA Bob Crows Army) and we will point them out for you – however they should be easy to spot as they will be the guys quaking in their boots somewhere close to the front of the station – enjoy!!”.

It was with a feral glint in the eye that we got off the train and as a mass trooped off to see who these half wits were. It was then we spotted the herd of Southern Managers the young and inexperienced in the centre safely surrounded by wizened old gits veterans of countless fob offs and excuses hiding just behind the ticket barrier close to the relative safety of the coffee shop. Prowling closely by the predatory commuters look for their chance to cut out one of the youngsters and give him a right rollicking. One of the younger sub-managers paws nervously at the ground looking down and glances around for the escape route wondering why he’s here and thinking that if he had revised more studiously for the McDonald’s degree in Burgerology (BBu(Hons)) he would be safely inside worrying about colony forming units of bacteria and not here facing this angry mob. Ah look a diversionary move by one of the older females ‘can you tell me which platform is for Victoria’ – oh over there platform 13 Luv responds the Alpha Manager. Too late he spots his error and two predators move quickly in and split up the herd isolating one of the newer managers who immediately cut off from the safety of the herd is pounced upon by a gaggle of ferocious wildcats. One cannot but admire the team working of this experienced pack – from an early time in the management training school of yer Southern Rail junior managers are able to divert complaints and back peddle at a rate of knots, but under the relentless pursuit of this angry crowd he is quickly worn down and soon becomes an exhausted sniveling wreck. One particularly stern lady caught my eye, and caught the guy she was laying into by the ***** as she gave him a right dressing down about over-crowding especially when he asked her to ‘calm down madam’ – which I always think is a marvelous way to up the temperature (needs to revise his ‘Handbook for Conflict Management on Southern Rail’ (10th Edition) notes) and drew the response ‘what do you mean calm down you little oik’ – ‘ I’ll have your b***s on a stick’ you talk to me like that!

She walked off obviously set-up for the day and cheerily responded to a request to take a sample of a chunky chocolate bar as a free gift on the station concourse – ‘No thank you’, she said, ‘I’ve had my quota of protein for today!’

World Toilet Day Celebrations in Chipping Norton

World Toilet Day Celebrations in Chipping Norton

As we all know the 19th November is the celebration of world toilet day – I know ‘what another crap day’ – well yes actually. As we know a visit to the bathroom is a regular ritual for all of us and a person will go to the toilet about 6 to 7 times a day and with all that flushing that takes place will use around 30% of the 60 gallons of water used by an average person in the UK daily. It is something we all take for granted and is a luxury quite unique to the western world – well over half of the world population especially in the developing nations use private dry facilitates i.e. they crap outside into a pit latrine or on the floor. Even in the UK flush toilets are quite recent (end 19C) remember Lord Black Adder (TV series in the UK) when he was trying to sell his house in Elizabethan times boasted that his house had all the latest in ‘open air facilities’ to which the prospective buyer said ‘ah good you crap out of the window then much more hygienic’. This latter technique being similar to the method known as the ‘Narobian Flying Toilet’ (Trade Mark applied for). Where if caught short in Nairobi you crap into a sandwich bag (available from the local Tesco’s) and throw it out of the window.

Now I am drawn to these things by a recent foray into the world of commodes and toilets as we decided to give a rather special birthday present for my Mother in Law (who sadly is now deceased since this article was original published) who now well into her dotage is having difficulty in managing the ten or so steps to the lavatory just down the corridor. So my wife had this hare brained idea to buy her a commode – a crap present in every meaning of the word. Anyhoo we ordered said commode and were assured that it would be delivered well in time for the birthday celebrations due in just over a week after the order. Suitable arrangements were made for the launch party and first use – We had in mind a ‘strapping in party’ where we would tie the old bird into the chair while we all went off down the pub – so having done the order we settled down and waited for said commode to turn up on the wicket. Needless to say nothing happened and the birthday arrived with no commode in sight to the disappointment of all – we still went ahead with the party you’ll be glad to hear but had to make do with strapping Ma-in-Law in the normal loo before going down the pub.

Another two weeks pass and sister in law had been waiting in, as one does, for the toilet men to appear. During this time whilst faffing around upstairs a far away whisper is heard from below … ‘oh there is a big white van outside do you think he is coming here’ … ‘have you answered the bloody door?!!’ … ‘what?’ … ‘crap Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! – as sister in law turned around at the top of the stairs stumbled and fell ‘A over T’ from top to bottom of the stairs landing in a crumpled heap on the hallway floor. After confirming she was still alive although with a near broken ankle she crawled and dragged herself to the front door and managed to open it to just in time to catch a glimpse of a white van disappearing into the blue yonder. She shut the door and crawled in a way my old army chums would admire to the phone, pulled it to the floor, and rang up the toilet company – ‘your bloody men just cleared off without dropping off the commode!!’ … ‘oh it wasn’t one of our delivery men your order won’t be ready for another two weeks from next Tuesday’. What do you mean I have been waiting in for the last two weeks ‘ … ‘oh you needn’t do that our delivery men will call back if you are not in’. Well we all know what a great sport it is for white van men to park up just down the road and with a pair of high powered binoculars spy out the land and wait for the five minutes that one pops out to the shops for a loo roll or to pick up the kids from school – then they pounce and drop that annoying little card through the letter box that says something like ‘missed you unable to delivery a parcel’.

Anyhoo the conversation went down hill from there on in and the order for the commode ended up being cancelled (crap service etc etc.). My sister in law then collapses to the floor rubbing her ankle whilst muttering profane curses and running through the synonym list for faeces. Just then Ma-in-Law pops her head round the door ‘oh you don’t have time to do your exercises now I need to go to the toilet?’
‘Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!… Due to profane nature of the rest of the dialogue and reporting restrictions under the mental health act the rest of this blog entry has been deleted. However I am sure RoyMogg Blog readers will be glad to know that the ambulance team did manage to remove an antique porcelain potty (Alfred Meakin c 1900) from Mrs H senior’s head and I have also been successful in ordering a replacement commode as shown in the picture below.


The Loo

The landrover Diaries – the story of breakdowns

Last Time on the Disco Diaries

Breakdown on M26 with ‘teas up’ and no coolant and three separate parties: the breakdown man, the cops and the little man from the Crawley garage add to my woes by confirming my worst fears about my foray into Discos with lots of epithets about crap cars, unreliability and won’t touch that with a barge pole etc.

The story continues…

Anyhoo … I get a call from the garage next day, ‘Hello Mr Morgan I am afraid I have some bad news – we can repair your car (damn it!) as its only the cylinder head that’s cracked’ – ‘happens quite a lot.’ ‘Oh you must have forgot to mention that when you sold the car two weeks ago so what’s this going to cost me?’ ‘Oh no worries its on a six month guarantee and we can fix it for you no probs – take about 7 days before we get this crock of **** together.’ ‘OK cheers I guess we will have to be patient and I’ll have to get the bike out as that daft idiot ‘er indoors forgot to include a replacement car on the insurance.’ Any chance of a courtesy car? ‘Oh sorry mate more than my jobs worth’ (Arghhhhh! – expletives deleted ed.) … so we left it like that and I went down the pub to mourn the loss of my Beemer.

Two weeks later I take possession of Blue Disco – for the first couple of weeks I ventured no further than the local shops and station car-park. Unfortunately I had to get over to Reading Barracks for a meeting – couldn’t be avoided – so off I set into the sunrise on the M4 to Reading. And nothing happened! – well at least I got there in one piece – it was on the way back the problems started.

I was pootling along at sixty miles an hour in the outside lane when this impatient jerk bombs up behind me and begins flashing and waving his fist at me – cannot think why – anyhoo I put my foot down to pull ahead and over – and nothing – clouds of black smoke and I actually slowed down – I got even more waving fists and flashes I can tell you. I managed to get over to the middle lane and the power picked up again. And that’s was the way of it – if I put my foot down too much I lost power and black smoke – foot off power restored.

I made it to the reading services parked up and hunted high and low for the recovery phone number – yup could find the bloody thing – rings ‘er indoors. She was on the phone to her sister as I found out ten minutes later and I ask for the recovery phone number. ‘Why do you want that and isn’t it in the car? ‘If it was in the car I (expletives deleted ed.) wouldn’t be calling you would I – and I’ve bloody well broken down again!!’ I called the number and waited … about an hour later another little man turns up. I explained the fault and he pops the hood and stares at the engine. I start up the engine as commanded and he continues to stare at the engine. After about ten minutes of staring failed to shed any light he pipes up, ‘Well bugger me mate I have no idea what’s wrong’ – ‘I don’t know much about Discos’ – ‘But I have the special Disco recovery service and you don’t know much about Discos – why did they send you?’ ‘Can’t be helped mate there was no-one else on so it was me or nothing.’ ‘But if you want I can tow you back or if you drive slowly back you should make it – which in the short of it was what I decided to do.’

So I crawled back around the M4 and M25 at about forty miles an hour tops and limped back to the Disco Garage. ‘Oh Hello Mr Morgan back so soon – anything wrong?’ Yes there is something (expletive deleted ed.) wrong – this absolute crock of s*** has conked out again can you look at it for me.’ No probs leave it over night and we will get it seen to first thing tomorrow.’ ‘Can you drop me back home seeing as I am carless again?’ – ‘Oh sorry (sucking through teeth) I have no-one spare at the moment but you can use the phone if you like and call up the missus to pick you up.’ Right … ten minutes later I get through … ‘sorry luv I was on the phone to my sister’ (grrrrrr!) – ‘do you want me to pick you up?’ ‘No I thought I would call you just for the hell of it to let you know I walking back in the pouring rain!!! ‘OK OK keep what’s left of your hair on I’ll be there in ten minutes.’