I haven’t had to moan about the trains for a long time. So, fortunately, I had the sort of trip into town that warrants a jolly good moan. And while it wasn’t the fault of South West Trains, it didn’t stop lots of people having a go at them.
Every morning (almost) I watch the local transport report, in case they cancel the ferries, information that needs to be sent instantly to Mirinda. I’ve never seen anything about Farnham…except for this morning. Through half closed eyes I made out the word although my comatose brain had no idea what it was in reference to.
Being a Friday, I was up at 6am so I merely had to make sure I watched properly in half an hour when the next edition came around. Which I did. And found out that a water pipe had burst, flooding the railway crossing, blocking traffic and forcing the trains to stop.
I quickly went on the SWT website to verify and, yes, there were no trains from Farnham. SWT were putting on buses and the trains were starting from Aldershot at their normal time…for Aldershot.
I made the decision to catch a bus to Aldershot rather than walk all the way to Farnham just to get a railway replacement bus service to Aldershot. I left a bit earlier but could have left later because, as usual, the most direct and shortest time limited bus to Aldershot was late. This only happens when I have to be somewhere, never when I don’t.
Anyway, it eventually decided to turn up and delivered me at Aldershot in time to not catch my usual train. I had half an hour to wait on a platform full of disgruntled and confused commuters who only wanted to get to work. I joined them, fitting in nicely.
Because there was so many of them, I wandered up to the end of the platform. That was until the announcement came that it would be a four coach train made me (and quite a few others) squidge up towards the middle of the platform. Usually it’s a 12 coach train so you can imagine how that was going to turn out.
When the train arrived, the guard tried to tell us it terminated and we were not to get on it. He’d have had more luck flying to the moon on a jelly. We all laughed humourlessly at him, and boarded the train. Those of us at the vanguard were very lucky, slipping into seats; the people bringing up the rear gradually filled the space in the aisles and vestibules. There were grumbles about the size of the train.
To be fair to SWT (something I’m not usually accused of) there is a siding just beyond Farnham where they stick the long trains over night and, of course, they’d have still been sitting there. The trains coming from Waterloo are smaller ones because there’s not that many people travelling out of London in the mornings. And there wasn’t a whole lot SWT could do about a burst pipe.
Still, people were grumbling; people were squashed in and standing. Actually, it was the ones standing that were grumbling. Those of us lucky enough to have seats, instantly fell asleep and ignored our poor inconvenienced fellow passengers. For them, the trip to Waterloo was long and uncomfortable. For me, it was like any other Friday, albeit half an hour later.
I still managed to arrive at the Science Museum with three minutes before the security door closed. Mind you, I didn’t get my usual Starbucks so was a bit drowsy before lunch.
Refreshed by my coffee (FINALLY!) I wandered around the statues at the V&A. I always like this one but never seem to get a good photo of it. She sits atop a memorial and is for Emily Georgiana William, wife of George, Earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham. Emily died aged only 39 in 1848. I think the beauty and sorrow of this statue conveys how poor George must have felt.
She was carved (though this seems hardly to describe the smooth perfection of the statue’s limbs) by Lawrence Macdonald. The reason it’s now at the V&A is because the church it originally sat in was destroyed (I don’t know why or how) which was not the church where she was buried. Don’t ask, I don’t know!
And while Lady Emily is life sized, this statue of St John the Evangelist is about a foot high. I just love the detail. He’s made of terracotta and was made in England in around 1505.
Fortunately, the trains were fine going home otherwise Mirinda would have not come home!