April 25th, 2007


Hope and Unreality on the London Underground

I'm back in Englefield Green again. In fact, I won't be going back to Nottingham until after my exams, which finish about a month from now.

Getting back here was fun. My train left Nottingham at 1130, and we were ready to leave at 1030, when Opa pointed out traffic had been bad. I checked the various Nottingham traffic webcams, and one of them (Middleton Boulevard for those who care) showed a lorry with its load spilt out across the road. I feared traffic in my side of the city would freeze up, and when we got to the local main road, Wollaton Vale, the traffic there wasn't moving. We had to get to the station, but I figured that if the Vale was at a standstill, so would be the two bottleneck routes to the ring road. Mum told us over the phone to give up, but I had an idea: catch a local train from Beeston station to Nottingham station. When we got there, however, there were no trains bound for Nottingham for 15 minutes, meaning I'd only get to the station with a few minutes to spare, and I'd need to pick up my ticket as well.

I gave up, and was ready to spend another day in Nottingham (Midland Mainline make their money from people who don't have the correct ticket for the train they are on, and thus have to pay £50 ($100) for a premium ticket). Opa thought there was still a chance however, and I let him have a go at getting to the station. Traffic was less dense than I had thought, given Wollaton Vale, and I got to the station with four minutes until my train left. I ran. There was no queue at the ticket machine. I ran. As I ran down the stairs to Platform 4, the time was 11:28:30, and Midland Mainline tend to leave slightly early, so I ran to the first carriage of the train and hopped on, making my way to my own carriage through the train rather than along the platform. As I walked through the second First Class coach, the train started moving. By the time I reached my seat, we were passing Beeston station where I'd been only 25 minutes earlier, and my mother didn't believe me when I told her I'd made the train.

It took me until Leicester (half an hour) to relax again. I'd learnt a lesson, however. Hope does indeed spring eternal. Mum gave up straight away. I gave up when I'd had a go, and failed. Opa still tried, and proved successful. I need to have more faith if I'm going to make the train, and I'm speaking metaphorically there.

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