Night nearly ruined by South West Trains

“Don’t go to Bangladesh,” said Abu as he drove us home. “You will be kidnapped!”
“Why?” asked a finally mellow Mirinda.
“For the ransom. It happened to my cousin.”
“I’ll scratch Bangladesh off my must-see destination list then.”

Abu is an Uber driver. He will be one of the poor sole traders who will be adversely affected by Hammond’s first budget last week. The one that reversed the pledge the government made to not raise taxes. Not an exactly unexpected occurrence.

Anyway, Abu, apart from being a fount of Bangladeshi information, was also a very nice chap and helped diffuse Mirinda’s foul mood brought on by the inadequacies of South West Trains…as if it was all just blood under the bridge.

The thing with SWT is that generally they are fine and reliable but when they fail it is with a monumental intensity rarely seen in railway circles. I’ve never before seen the display screens at Waterloo suddenly wipe about ten trains off the board in one fell swoop, including ours, before starting to list ones for an hour hence which, eventually became delayed in turn. And cancelled, presumably.

What makes matters worse is that there is no-one manning the information desk and the PA is muffled to a point where only the BBC TV Drama department would understand it.

This was the situation at 11pm when we arrived on the concourse, wanting to catch the 11:23 train home. We did manage to get on a train for Woking but, having settled ourselves and (I thought) prepared for the long, stop start trip, Mirinda suddenly stood up and said we were getting off. I’ll just say that it was not a popular decision…however, we settled into a seat outside Caracoli to figure out what to do.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if one of us had had the foresight to bring along a set of flat keys…but neither of us did. The normally reliable SWT had lulled us into a false sense of security.

Eventually, as our last hope of getting home vanished in a puff of something resembling drunks on a concourse, Mirinda decided to try Uber. Being Uber virgins didn’t help as our first car failed to show up in the same place as we were. Mirinda decided it was because Waterloo is too big with too many entrances. We wandered the after midnight streets looking for a street with a house number in it.

This is very easy in Farnham but not so much on Waterloo Road. Anyway, we did find a number and we did find a car and Abu drove us home. Even after talking to the very irritated and temporarily anti-social Mirinda.

And it had been such a lovely day up to this point.

After a morning and afternoon spent in the garden – I planted up some grape hyacinths in the Pixie pot – we caught a train into town to go and see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Harold Pinter theatre. This is the third of our ‘Memory Plays’ for this year (Hedda Gabler and The Glass Menagerie being the other two).

And Virginia Woolf was superb. As we expected, the amazing Imelda Staunton shone as Martha. This is the third time over the last few years that we’ve seen her and once again her stage presence was palpable. Along with Imelda, a wonderfully downtrodden but intellectually hilarious George was played by Conleth Hill (Varys from Game of Thrones, a fact that an excited young lady in the front row couldn’t quite get over). Luke Treadaway as Nick was also wonderful; sexy, young and naive enough for George to taunt to great effect.

The performance I was most blown away by was the marvellous Imogen Poots as Honey (I wonder if Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction is an homage to Edward Albee?). Her interpretation was delightful and her drunkenness, exquisitely performed. I thought she rounded off a fantastic night at the theatre.

I say ‘fantastic’ but it was also gruelling, as highlighted by a mother talking to her daughter who Mirinda overheard in the ladies’ toilet after the performance.

“Have you ever seen anything like that? I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life! Tearing each other apart! God help us all!!”

By the time we arrived home (2am) the poor puppies were decidedly relieved. In fact, for the first time in ages, we were given a load of Emma juice. So much different to how they were earlier, watching us in the garden.

Poor Freya was particularly distraught. It took her ages to calm down. So much so that we let them sleep with us. I think that helped.

Now here’s a rare thing…a video with me in it…

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