Today started reasonably well. Woke up at 0630 and made first cup of coffee. A quick check online revealed no difficult emails and the good news that a Randinista had been banned for 24 hours for disruptive activity on the WIkipedia; It will just make him worse, but then bans escalate for repeat behaviour. clear overnight email, check Twitter and RSS feed while dawn breaks. The back garden looked wonderful; snow, frost and sun. Sign cheque for son’s Geography field trip and settle into bath to finish Mortimer’s excellent biography of Edward III (the best place in the world to read is the bath) along with its appendix on the proof that Edward II did not as a result of a red hot poker inserted from the rear in Berkley Castle, but instead lived on in Northern Italy and died naturally. While dressing promise wife that I will go and buy new kitchen lights and fit them this afternoon before I vanish to the US for three weeks at the weekend. Thence to Study, Mahler’s 7th Symphony and get on with finishing the new course brochures (of which more tomorrow). From that point on it starts to go badly wrong.
1015 Postman calls and asks if the Peugeot outside is ours as it looks like someone has hit it. Go out, daughter’s car has wing and door damaged where some idiot has drive into it. No contact or other details left which is bad form. Its the same wing that was replaced after he last accident, but this time no fault. The police are not interested and I now have to sort out the insurance etc. etc.
1215 Realise that the email I skim read from colleague earlier says Do we want to talk before we get to Mike? Realise it implies that there may be a meeting with Mike, which in turn implies I should be in London not Wiltshire
1220 Phone colleague to check but his mobile is switched off
1223 Phone Mike (the client) to ask if there is a meeting and if so what time. His PA is at lunch but there is nothing in the diary, start to relax
1245 Get through to colleague, meeting is on.
1250 Frantic change from shorts and rugby shirt (yes I know it’s winter but I am cold blooded) to something resembling business casual. Difficult conversation at speed with wife about kitchen lights, unresolved on departure.
1305 in car, train leaves Pewsey at 1325 should be no problem
1307 Realise that romantic aspects of snow from bedroom window early in morning go away on ungritted country roads. Realise we have snow covering black ice. This means proceeding very, very slowly and divertiong to main (gritted) road after a scary down hill section with no traction – thank St Michael and all his Saints that there was nothing coming the other way as I could not have stopped.
1313 On main road, may still make it but following someone who is driving at 20mph in petrified state. May never have seen snow before. Finally escape by means of intimidation (don’t ask).
1322 Draw into station car park at Pewsey, grab bag and run to platform.
1325 On train (just) and sit down. Check mobile for messages – Mike has phoned asking if we can postpone the meeting a day
1355 Arrive Newbury (first stop), get off train, check time of next return to Pewsey. Its not until 1453 and involves going on to Reading and then returning back to Pewsey arriving 1603. At least its a fast train with no stops. Slowly start to freeze on station platform over next hour.
1453 Train is announced as delayed due to the need to inspect a train in front of it (no idea what that means but its what they said). Cold now debilitating.
1512 Train arrives and departs for Reading, late but at least its warm. Hands start to defrost, pain intensifies.
1530 Train arrives Reading platform 5 a quarter of an hour late . Run up escalator, across bridge, down and round new barricade designed to prevent people rushing directly to train, forced to take 20 yard diversion
1533 Arrive Platform 4 as train doors are locked and 1332 leaves, sans moi
1540 despondent in waiting room with coffee and no heating; next train at 1704 will get into Pewsey at 1745 and this one will stop everywhere; Newbury (again), Hungerford and Bedwyn.
1605 Frozen solid, move platforms to try and find somewhere warm – fail completely. Begin to think that I will loose fingers and ears to frostbite. Start to realise just how many things I have to do tonight which might have been complete by now. Starting to wonder if red hot pokers are a bad idea all things considered.
1704 Train arrives and leaves on time, there are seats and a heater. Defrosting pain starts again, after ten minutes have enough feeling in fingers to get out computer and try and catch up. Start writing this blog as therapy.
1730 Pass through Newbury, see motionless figures on opposite platform, waiting and freeezing. I know how they feel
1745 Train arrives Pewsey on time, things getting better.
1748 Discover that car has parking ticket, In the haste and confusion of the morning I forgot to phone (its a useful feature that, if you don’t have time to go get a ticket you can phone the station number and your registration and pay on line). More money down the drain.
1755 Car windscreen defrosted, its -3ºC and I sit and wait. Drive out of car park and slowly, ever so slowly make my way home.
1815 Arrive home. Its take twice as long as it normally does, my nerves are strung out and I fail to come up with a satisfactory answer on the kitchen light problem. Whisky calls, sorting out a flight to Belfast for tomorrow, then a days backlog. No time to cook the goose I planned for this evening so it will be a late night takeaway or a toasted sandwich if I can’t face the drive into town.
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