Friday, April 03, 2009

Tickets please...

I spent yesterday in London and would have to say that the only protesters I saw were outside the Chinese Embassy - I think protesting about the Falung Gong. I was only in one taxi as I was late, but otherwise travelled on buses which all got me where I wanted to go for 90p and on time.
The taxi driver ( natch) had a view on the G20, which was mostly that it was doing nothing for the man in the street HERE. All the stimulus ( if it really is such) looks to benefit other countries, unless, of course, we ask the IMF for some dosh. Just on that point, the $750billion to do with the IMF is actually nothing of the sort - its the amount the IMF wants to be able to lend, and which has to be subscribed by the various countries at the conference. I think that means we will have to find more billions to come out of taxpayers pockets here. In general, his view was that everything the government had done was merely headline stuff - he saw no evidence of people being less ground down - forget better off. His view would be entirely in tune with Brown's answer to a question posed by a journalist: What would be success for the G20? Brown's answer is very revealing; " It'll be a success if you ( ie the media ) say it is". No mention of actually doing something for anyone.
But I digress.
On the Train back, there was some problem which mean the buffet/shop had no power. So no hot anything, but more importantly no credit card machine working.
Which meant that a good 75% of the people who wanted a cold sandwich couldn't pay for it. They literally had no cash at all on them. Being old fashioned, I always carry enough cash to deal with any emergency - if you have cash, you can have what you want.
I was sitting right beside the train manager's office, which is about half way up the train, equipped with computers and CCTV cameras.
I've always thought they had little to do, but was surprised at how much was required of them. Apart from announcements about stations, times etc, all the problems were his to deal with as well. Last night, these included a drunk, a child that was throwing up all over the place ( it was a Pendolino train) and some poor woman who, despite having a reserved seat, found it occupied by an extremely belligerent elderly woman who simply refused point blank to move. I am glad to say the train manager ( or guard as they used to be known) put the poor woman into first class.
Our guard was in constant communication with the driver, because with lower power it took longer for the train to accelerate up to speed - making a significant difference to timings between stations.
" Aye," says,the guard," This train's right keech" He referred to the driver as " Big man". I've mentioned this before - it doesn't refer to height but to intellectual capacity. A train driver is clearly superior to a guard in the Virgin hierarchy....
But our manager was also caring about we ordinary passengers - because of the low power, he put out an announcement saying that unless the various gadgets we had plugged in had surge protectors, we should work on battery, as if the power came back on fully, the surge would destroy them. As it happens, it did come back about Carlisle, and as far as I know, everyone was safe.
So next time you're on a train, spare a thought for your Manager. He/she has a much worse job than you might think.

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