Driving Me Round The Bend…

…is a very short journey at times. The past weeks I have been away in Wales. Travelling solo, which for me means – gahh – public transport. I had the opportunity to get my tickets way in advance which saved a lot of money (yes, even vampires have to count pennies) but did carry one small penalty, or as I like to call it, the ‘you’re-stuck-with-it’ clause. One seat to rule them all; one seat reservation to find it.

I found myself on the quiet carriage on train. For those not in the know, this is the carriage where men in suits are allowed to glare at you if you cough, before then receiving calls to which they reply “I can’t talk right now’, and then proceed to do precisely that.

Thank goodness for headphones. I decide to watch The World’s End on my iPad to kill some time, with my bag of boiled sweets at the ready for the ear-drum-wrenching Severn tunnel. Anyway, 90 odd minutes later, I look up, world saved, evil vanquished, to see a bilingual sign. Both I and my ears missed the tunnel altogether. I’m now in Wales.

And that’s where I spend a few delightful days, running errands and generally making as much mess as possible. Well, I introduce my father to the delights of fermented foods, such as water kefir and homemade sauerkraut – who knew you could fit an entire head of cabbage into one small jar???

And yes, I end up in the quiet coach again on the way back. With my lunch: vegetable crisps plus a nice crusty French bread sandwich wrapped in crinkly tin foil. It’s a very long train. I’m in coach A. The train ends at coach L. By the time I get to my seat, I’ve probably already crossed the city line. The cheap seats at the front. First class to the rear. If we crash, they’ll be fine. I’m living dangerously. Oh yeah.

The woman across the aisle is tearing bits of paper. Is she making a nest? I don’t want to fall asleep in case I wake up with my liver gone. The journey is once again alleviated by liberal application of Flixster and as the light fades, I find myself back in Reading, with 3 minutes to make my connection. Really? Naturally, I miss it. I go to find the next train. Pause for hollow laughter. Train? Don’t be silly. It’s that well-know British institution – the bus replacement service, which will get me back to my home village 90 minutes later than expected.

The bus is warm and cosy and dark, so I don’t mind it too much. I sit at the front, behind the driver. It’s all coccoony and comfy. Apart from when a four-by-four tries to play chicken with the bus. We’re abiding by the rules while the aforementioned four-by-four has a go at jumping a roundabout. The poor bus driver nearly gets concussion from my Hello Kitty bag zooming through the air as he slams on the brakes.

I snoozle, half conscious until someone gets on with a Chinese takeaway. My predator instinct starts to kick in. I want the takeaway, don’t worry! Black bean goodness… I eventually arrive home considerably later than planned, with the start of a really bad cough… That’s air conditioning for you. It develops into Bronchitis – I sound like the lovechild of the exorcist and a dragon.

So why don’t I just drive? Good question. It’s one of the downsides of the way I am. I did try. Honest. There was one occasion during a lesson where the instructor told me to take the next right. I saw it. I indicated. He asked me what I was doing. I restated the instruction.

“I’m taking a right up that hill.”

“What hill?”

“That hill.”

“Look again.”

Turns out I was not turning right up a hill. It was not a hill. It was a large grey house. Well, it looked like a hill to me! It’s like the stories I’ve heard about iguanas – on seeing a human being for the first time, they mistake them for a tree and climb up the unsuspecting person. So, hey, I’m doing my bit for road safety – by not driving!



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