Life on public transport

What an odd and sometimes annoying morning I had today. I was off to Portsmouth for work and, having dropped the girls off with Sue, sighed as the number 5 bus to Farnham station scooted by as I was still hobbling towards the bus stop. This meant an unexpected wait of 15 minutes for the number 17.

More annoying than the delay however, was the fact that an inconsiderate builder had decided to park his over-tall van between the bus stop and the end of the road, making the signalling of the bus quite an ordeal. In fact I had to stand in the road for the driver to see me rather than sail by.

The view from the footpath

I reached Farnham station just as my train to Guildford was leaving it. I settled down with a coffee and my book for the half hour wait for the next one. I wasn’t too annoyed because this merely reduces the wait at Guildford and gives the buffer a bit of a bash.

Of course, my later train to Guildford was inexplicably held up along the way. We sat at a red signal for what seemed like ages but was actually just long enough to make me late for my Portsmouth connection by the time we reached Guildford. In fact, as I stepped from the train I noticed a Portsmouth train just leaving with a swoosh of satisfaction.

I walked down, then up the ramps to platform 4, through a veritable flood of commuters all going in the opposite direction and threatening to wash me downstream. Finally reaching the safety of the platform I realised the train I’d watched leave was actually the all stopping service and my usual train was, in fact, delayed. Which was a good thing this morning and made things match up a bit better.

All was well, or so I thought, as we headed for Haslemere. Then we stopped and the door bells started going a bit mental. We sat at the platform for a while before the guard decided to let us know that the doors in the rear carriages weren’t working. He said they were being fixed and we’d move as soon as they were. (I was seriously glad that Mirinda wasn’t with me knowing her weird door phobia.)

The delay was increasing as the doors refused to budge. Then, suddenly, a computer voice announced something like “Message for the guard – ADFS is now connected.” It was very mysterious but, of course, meant the doors were fixed and we were soon on our way again.

In the end it made me about 20 minutes late so I had to go into the dockyard along with the public rather than before them, which I rather enjoy.

I had an email last week regarding the new entrance arrangements for the library. No more need to go to security and get a navy pass. Now it’s just a matter of walking all the way as far as the Victory, go through a gate then walk all the way back again then straight into the library.

The trouble was, I couldn’t find the gate because the only one between the buildings had stark warnings plastered all over it. I then saw a fellow volunteer approaching and suggested he looked like someone who would know the way in my usual jolly fashion. He assumed I was a member of the public and was lost.

This ex-navy chap didn’t recognise me even though we’ve been sitting next to each other for a year. We have chatted, exchanged jokes and…well, the normal stuff. This wasn’t my invisibility but some sort of New Appearance Field I’d stepped through. I hope he wasn’t in charge of watching for things or recognising enemy as opposed to friendly ships when he was in the service.

So, having assured him I was also a volunteer and used to sit next to him in the old office, he showed me how to access the long road between the buildings and we walked to the library.

Between the buildings

It was quite a walk, particularly with a stranger.

Work was a return to the warships of the world V800 section which I thought I was going to complete before the day was out. No such luck. I managed to get through about 20 before the time rolled around to the one to go. Heather informed us all that there’ll be no volunteering for the next two weeks because of general absences following which I left.

Me waiting for trains and buses and things

(The woman above is actually Scylla, the Greek myth that sailors feared. It was she who stood opposite the fearsome Charybdis. As sailors avoided Charybdis she would pick them off. It seems an odd choice for a naval ship but this figurehead came from a screw corvette built at Sheerness in 1856 and broken up in 1882.)

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