When did they stop being stations?

Three older ladies boarded the train with me this morning. They were all dolled up in their finery as if they were off to the theatre. Or a WI luncheon. Or the opening of a new art gallery. Where ever they were going they were chattering excitedly as they decided where to sit.

They paused at a double set of three seats across the aisle from me. Their chattering took a decidedly disapproving tone as they surveyed the seats. Every second one was dirty.

They didn’t want to sit in dirt and so they moved across the aisle and sat in another double set of three seats in front of me. And so the excited chattering was replaced by notes of disapproval.

Disgusting!” was one comment. “Probably kids,” was another. “You’d think their parents would teach them to keep their feet on the floor,” was greeted with universal approval.

They left the train at Woking and quiet accompanied me the rest of the way to the flat.

I was heading to Canary Wharf in order to finish my cleaning and tidying following the decorators. Subsequently, I sat in a few trains. I also saw a few feet on seats. None of them belonged to kids.

The worst offender was an Australian woman in her forties whose companion kept moving her feet onto his lap in order to lessen the seat contact. She would then move them back.

Having finished at the flat I went home via the Schuh shoe shop. It was here, many years ago, that I bought the best runners I’ve ever bought. I’m sure there’s a blog post about it. How the sales woman convinced me the New Balance 574 style was the best for wide feet. And she was 100% correct.

I noticed in the window that they had a pair of style 574 runners with my name on them so I entered and approached a sales man asking for a pair in anything but black. He checked his stock device and declared he had an olive pair in my size. I told him I’d have them. He indicated his own 574 clad feet and declared it was an excellent choice.

I walked in with one pair and walked out with two. Even given the wear, I think it’s quite difficult to pick the older pair.

I was standing at Waterloo waiting for a platform when I noticed something odd. It wasn’t my shoes. I don’t know if this is a new thing because I can’t say I’ve noticed it before but, for some reason, the word ‘station’ seems to have become inadequate for explaining where trains stop.

Rather than announcing that some ‘stations have short platforms’ the new term seems to be ‘calling points’. Why? Given the announcement is regarding places where passengers can alight the train I would have thought this was exclusively stations.

Perhaps it’s the whole pomposity thing that South Western Railways seems to imbue its guards with. The way they say ‘myself’ when there’s nothing wrong with ‘me’ or using ‘whilst’ like some Medieval illuminated manuscript creator.

Whatever the explanation, it must be confusing to a lot of people who know what a station is and are now wondering what ‘calling point’ they need to alight from.

And people accuse lawyers of not using Plain English.

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