Monday, October 17, 2011

Three quintessentially English (British?) vignettes yesterday evening.

1. Buying my ticket at Leeds station

An off-peak return to Liverpool, please.
Forgive me if this is the wrong thing to say but you never know and you don't want to upset anyone. Are you aware there's a special price on this route if you're 55 or older?
No, I didn't know but are you seriously suggesting that I look younger than 55?
[Blushing] Well, it's as I say - You don't want to take the risk of upsetting anyone.
Well, I certainly am older than 55. So thank-you for making my day. Twice over.
How so?
A discount plus a compliment!

2. On the train

As we pull out of Manchester Victoria station, the young lady next to me exclaims:-
Oh, that was my stop. I should have got off but for some reason I thought it was Stockport.
No, it was very much Manchester Victoria, I'm afraid. So I guess you should get off at the next station - Newton-Le-Willows - and then catch the first train back to Manchester.

The young lady calls her mother (who's due to pick her up from Manchester) and gives her the bad news. As she's doing this, the conductor comes through the carriage and she addresses him:-
Excuse me but I've missed my stop. I should have got off at Manchester.
Don't worry, Miss. This will be the next train back to Manchester. So stay on it until we get to Liverpool. You'll have to get off it while it's being cleaned but then get back on. I'm the conductor on the way back and I won't charge you. I would say get off at Newton-Le-Willows but it's the middle of nowhere and I wouldn't like to think of you waiting an hour in the dark on that station. 
Thank-you very much.

Me: Have you ever been to Liverpool?
Her: No, I haven't actually.
Me: So it's not a complete waste of time, then. You'll be able to tell people you've seen the famous Lime St. station

3. As we approach Liverpool, after the hell-hole of Newton-Le-Willows

An announcement:-

Good evening, ladies and gentleman. As you know, this is a TransPennine Express and it's due to arrive in Liverpool at 7.55. However, we've been diverted onto a line which is being used by a stopping-train and this accounts for the current stop-go nature of our progress. But there is some slack in our official journey time and we may nonetheless be able to get to Liverpool on time.

We do. And I wish the young lady a happy, if brief, visit to the city.

Talking of moving around . . . After a few weeks in the UK, I've just about got used to drivers using their indicators when entering and exiting roundabouts/circles. My next challenge is to learn to trust them. And so cease upsetting drivers behind me by stopping to see whether the wheels go in the direction suggested by the signal . . .

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