Friday, May 01, 2009

The loveliness of Leicester

Getting to Cambridge from Beeston tonight took less than three hours, which only happens on very rare occasions when you can change at Leicester without waiting more than a few minutes and get a direct train to Cambridge. But the 17:08 tonight was one of those times, and I managed to leave work early despite having to cover someone else's Friday-afternoon report that always takes ages to gather various different people's input.

So I was already in a good mood when I went in to the cafe at Leicester station for something to eat, and it only got better when it turned out that the till wasn't taking cards and I didn't have quite enough money to pay for my crisps, ham salad roll and bottle of coke, only for the man behind the till to cheerfully chip in 50p from his own pocket to make up the difference!

And then, if that wasn't enough to convince me that Leicester station is great, the announcer over the tannoy described the next train to arrive as "the chronologically disadvantaged 17:30 to London" and got a chuckle from the crowd of people waiting for it. Most big stations like Leicester have a robot announcing the trains, or else a low-paid, non-English-speaking temp. Hooray for the traditional British sense of humour and the traditional British sense of giving someone 50p to pay for a sandwich!

That's made me all cheerful and chirpy about the weekend ahead, and was just what I needed after lots of busy-ness at work and lots of running around frantically for the last few evenings getting everything sorted for Sunday (I still need to create the spoken numbers program on Powerpoint, but I can do that in the comfort of my hotel room. All the memorisation papers are printed out and safely stored in my small rucksack - which I was carrying on my front, like some kind of baby harness thing, because my big backpack was on my back. And in a way, these memorisation and recall papers are my babies. A strange way that only a certifiable lunatic would use, but a way nonetheless. I laboured over the things and printed them out, using the very last drop of ink my Lexmark cartridges would allow me. Wait a minute, I opened a set of brackets about 500 words ago, let's close them before we go any further). That's better.

On my journey down here tonight, I must have given people the impression that I'd recently come from Bahrain - I was wearing my souvenir Bahrain T-shirt, and my big rucksack has still got the little white band around it saying "Bahrain International Airport Security" from my trip there six months ago. People probably concluded that I'd been to the grand prix. Perhaps that's why the guy gave me that 50p - he must have assumed I'm a millionaire playboy and would reward him with gold bars and mansions!

Anyway, I'm rambling. I think I'll go to bed now. Othello tomorrow, memory on Sunday!

No comments: