Planning the Spontaneous

It's more than just a blueprint.

Refresh(F5)

Posted by Robert Chow on 14/11/2009

So we’ve all heard the term “turning over a new leaf”.  I’m not quite doing that.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been updating this as regularly as I may have liked.  And that the posts have been rather long, and can get a little tedious.  But, in all honesty, I don’t believe they’re bad.  They just could be, better.  And thus, I am not turning over a new leaf, but just improving on what I already have.

This means that the blog will introduce shorter stories.  Not ones which span the whole page, and take a week to write.  It will also introduce more technical blog post, more than already.  It will also introduce less technical blog posts, less than already.  And also blog posts related to my placement, but not necessarily computing.  This blog is, my industrial experience.

So we start off with a non-computer related post.  And funnily (and ironically) enough, in Manchester – not Bideford.  I’m happily taking a couple of weeks, “working from home”, or from time in lieu.  And to get here was the worst journey I’ve had to endure, ever.

From Town…

I’ve flown from Manchester to New Zealand – 27 hours that took.  Compared to the 9 hour stint from my doorstep in Bideford to where I was staying in Manchester, it seemed like what I was about to do was easy.

4:00pm
I set off in the car to Barnstaple train station, knowing full well, I wanted to make it early so I could get my train tickets with enough time to spare.  Traffic the second we hit Bideford, but at least it passed a few minutes afterwards.

4:30pm
I arrive at Barnstaple train station – the train wasn’t for another half hour.  Oh, and I remember it wasn’t a train – there was a rail replacement service instead.  That meant coach.

… To City

5:00pm
We set off.  The coach wasn’t crowded.  Comfortable actually.

6:30pm
We arrive at Exeter.  And I think I’m getting old.  I’m starting to feel travel sick now – winding country roads, enclosed by trees either side, in the dark and on a coach – I’m not claiming to have the strongest mind or stomach for this.  But I survive.

Still 6 More Hours

7:30pm
We board the train to Birmingham from Exeter.  It’s only 2 minutes late, which is fine, as there is a 25 minute window to change train at Birmingham.  Plenty of time.

8:30pm
We arrive at Bristol Temple Meads.  Drunk youths board the train to get to Bristol town centre.  I’m slightly worried because at this point I remember this place as one of the worst hit areas for racial abuse.  But in the public eye, I’m rather calm.  I just want to set off.

8:40pm
We should have left 10 minutes ago.  We stuck on the platform, waiting for a driver to take our train to Birmingham.

8:50pm
Still waiting.  Apparently there is a train heading straight to Manchester from another platform, but it hasn’t arrive yet – that’s been delayed too.  Many of us are rushing from platform to platform, wondering which train will go first.

9:00pm
We finally set off.  This is bad news.  We have to make up at least 5 minutes to allow us to get onto the connecting train.  Bad news – if we don’t pass through Cheltenham Spa with ease, we’ve lost our chance.

10:00pm
We should be near Birmingham by now.  We’re not – we’re half an hour away, and the Manchester train is to set off before we arrive – and it’s also the last direct train of the night too.  We’re all worried.  Alas, we have good news.  Credit to the very brave conductor giving the announcement.  He was hoping to be able to delay the train setting off for Manchester, but there’s no need.  The train travelling from Birmingham to Manchester – turns out we’re already on it!  The last hour and a half spent worrying was all for nothing.

Relief At Last

10:30pm
We set off from Birmingham with haste to make up for a few minutes.  All is well.

Nearly Home

12:15am
I arrive in Manchester.  I can feel a grin on my face forming, and I can’t help myself.

Rather a different change to previous posts, but I hope it’s a refreshing new read!


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2 Responses to “Refresh(F5)”

  1. I don’t understand… at 7:30pm you’re at Birmingham, but at 8:30pm you’re at Temple Meads?

    And stop being American! They’re called guards, not conductors! Although it’s better than using “train managers”.

    • My bad. I wrote this in a rush.

      And train guard doesn’t sound right to me… it sounds like they should be guarding the train, with a suit of armor…

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