Friday, 18 February 2011

First Great Satan

Let me present a compositum of recent days spent wrestling with the First Great Satan. (These are the fellows who run our public transport system.)

I wake and feed myself some lovely home-made muesli. Mmhmm. Now I must book me a train, for I need to go to Milton Keynes in three months. An hour later I have discovered that, although a single ticket will cost me £60, if I break the ticket into three and book Bristol-Cheltenham then Cheltenham-Birmingham then Birmingham-Milton Keynes, then I can make the journey on the same trains for half the price. Though the price still needles, forty minutes later I have achieved the triple booking. I will need to take a trip to Temple Meads to book my bike on, but that can wait for another day when I have a couple of hours spare.

It's a bad start to the day but I stay positive: today I am having a day off on my own. Hurrah! I have organised a bus ride out to Wells so I can walk through the Mendips to Cheddar. What could go wrong?

I arrive at the bus stop with five minutes to spare. Forty minutes later my bus arrives. The driver is apologetic - he'd broken down. I ask for a return to Cheddar; the driver says "That'll be seven pounds." I lose the ability to speak for a couple of seconds. Then: "But, surely sir, you are mistaken? For Wells is not far, and it is a popular town."

The driver is not mistaken but he is also rather nice. So he issues me a special ticket (for I have only £6.85 in my wallet) and tells me I should be able to get back on that. Thank you, sir, for your humanity. (But a pox on your employer.)

Between Wells and Cheddar there is nary a commercial outlet. I am alone with sheep and grass and hedgerows. I see a cloud of unidentified sparrow-like birds feeding in a farmer's field. And a rook, and a nuthatch, and some cows with big scary horns. I eat sandwiches sitting on a rock. A short paragraph of happiness in an essay of modern anguish.

I arrive at my destination and go to the bus stop. It takes me two hours to get from Cheddar to Bristol Temple Meads, though it be but a short distance. The first bus is full of old people on a trip out and the atmosphere is rather jolly. After that the journey gets a little wearing. I pass my time contemplating a map of the area - there are a great number of disused railways running in all directions. Thank you Mr Beeching for your good work.

From Temple Meads to home is a forty minute walk. I could catch the bus but it would take nearly as long and cost me £3. Most of my walk is on the cycle path; I praise Allah, Yahweh, and the Green Goddess that the good folk of people stopped the council and FGSatan from running a bus lane down the length of it.

I arrive home happy. I won't let the fuckers get me down.

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