So I bought my tickets in advance from @thetrainline to be fair their turnaround is really good. For anyone who has never used them they send you like fifty million ticket look-alikes in an envelope. Now usually I would take the whole lot with me but on this occasion I decided to take just the actual tickets.
My local train journey is one of those classic village halt type services whereby you rarely see any guards or ticket collectors so my journey to Birmingham New Street was pretty uneventful. I had to catch the 11:07 to Oxford and dragging my case down the aisle found some woman sat in my seat;
“I’m ever so sorry but I think you’re sitting in my seat?”
Why are we English so apologetic? And why was I apologising anyway? I mean, I hadn’t done anything wrong. After sorting it out I put my case on the parcel rack and the woman and her friend thought that a jolly good idea and proceeded to attempt to lift their 300,000 kilo cabin crew bags up on the shelf: “Here let me help” like the perfect gentleman I am I started to lift the said cases in turn to my crotch so that like a power lifter I could manhandle their case above my head to where my case was already sitting. Proud at my display of manhood and etiquette I was just about to sit down when I notice the black smear mark across the front of my crisply pressed trousers that I intended to wear to the Friday ‘Lets get blathered’ Pre-Oggcamp drink up! Lets just say I wasn’t a happy bunny.
Just outside of Banbury the Virgin Rail guard made his way down the carriage. “Tickets please, can you have your tickets ready please” most of the people round me fumbled for their Trainline envelopes while I produced my ticket.
Guard: “I’m sorry sir, that is your reservation. I need to see your ticket.”
Me: [The blood rushing from my face] “That is my ticket? The others at home clearly stated they was not a ticket. The only one I have left is this one from Bloxwich to Birmingham”
Guard: “That ticket is fine but should have a reservation with it.”
Me: “But you cannot reserve seats on my branch line?”
Guard: “Oh? Well you don’t have a ticket for this journey”
Me: “Oh yes I do, look at my phone, there’s the evidence I bought my ticket.”
Guard: “It clearly says this is not a ticket”
Me: “I know that, I am proving to you I bought one.”
Guard: “Well you’ll have to see what they say in Oxford”
I continued my journey with the prospect that I was going to have to pay at least an additional £20. The two women opposite was very helpful with their “Ooh you look worried” comment by the way.
I arrived at Oxford where my cunning plan of just walking through was foiled by the cattle segregating channels that stood before me. There was nothing for it, I was going to have to speak to the smartly dressed station bloke and explain the situation.
Me: “Excuse me, apparently there is a problem with my ticket according to the guard on the train?”
The Suit: “Lets have a look sir. I can’t see anything wrong?”
Me: “Well he said it was a reservation not a ticket?”
The Suit: “Let me assist you sir”
He then proceeded to halt the 40 odd people trying to funnel through the exit and inserted my ticket into the machine. The little yellow paddles promptly reclined into their recesses and the suit said;
The Suit: “There we are sir, thank you for travelling with us today.”
As I swanned through the barriers I glanced back at the 40 odd delayed passengers who all looked on thinking “Ooh the fook is E, I’ve never seen (h)im on the tele?”
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