Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Train Diaries

For audio click here

“If you see something that doesn’t look right,” the lady on the Tannoy told me, “text the British Transport Police on…” I can’t remember the number now, but she went on to say, “you see it, we’ll sort it.”
I was on Cardiff Central’s platform one, starting at the monstrosity that is the new BBC HQ half built just across the way. It was the first time I’d seen the progress in a while and to be honest it didn’t look right, not right at all. There didn’t seem to be enough space for what they were trying to achieve. It reminded me of when my sisters used to try to squeeze into jeans that were about three sizes too small for them back in the eighties. I wasn’t sure what the British Transport Police could do about it, but they’d just promised me if it didn’t look right, they’d sort it. I got my phone out and started composing the message.
            Fair play, they pinged a message back to me almost immediately. And what’s more they wanted to talk to me about my concerns. Now, if you’ve ever complained to airlines, you’ll know it takes them up to six months to reply, and then they blow up some small print to show that they are not responsible for something that is clearly their fault. So, I was impressed with the speed that the BTP got back to me. I replied saying I was already on the train to London and they told me it was no matter, they’d arrange for a colleague to meet me at Paddington. Wow, this really was excellent customer service.
            Sure enough, a boy and girl in blue were waiting on the platform at Paddington, but they didn’t smile when I introduced myself.  Maybe being a transport copper in London wasn’t as fun as being one in Cardiff.
            “Come with us,” the female said. I followed.
            They led me into the bowels of Paddington, through doors and corridors that I never knew existed, until we reached an interview room.
            “Sit,” she said and closed the door on me, leaving me alone.
There were yellow stains on the ceiling where water had dripped through. The table was marked with scratches; names, a love heart and a childish drawing of male genitalia. I rocked back on a chair like a teenager and waited for the two officers to come back.
            The door swung open, there were still no smiles on show. The pair sat down and looked at me.
            “You look like an intelligent man, Mr Davies,” the woman said.
            “I’ve got a degree or two,” I said.
            “So, we presume you know that not everything is meant literally?”
            “I do,” I said. “Somethings are metaphorical.”
            “And we presume you know wasting police time is a serious matter.”
            “Wasting police time? Who’s wasting police time?”
            “That text number is a very important anti-terrorist hotline, people who abuse it are potentially diverting manpower away from a serious incident.”
            “Ah,” I said, I see,” the penny finally dropped. “You should change the wording then,” I said.
            “I think you should stop trying to be a comedian,” she stared at me.
            “Why, have you seen my act?”
            Not a flicker of a smile on her face.

            “We’ll caution you this time,” she said, “but next time, you won’t be so lucky,”

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you should have travelled with Czech airlines. They might appreciate being entertained:-)