I don’t do Public Transport!
I’d heard that parking in Manchester was not only a nightmare and that you would have to sell your children into slavery to pay the parking fee for a few hours so with that in mind I decided to use the train. Now to get to Manchester by car from my house
takes around an hour and a half so long as you stick within the speed limit. My train was set to eat two and a half hours from my lifes timeline, but I felt it was a small price to pay given I was only going to do one day of a two-day event.
My journey to Oggcamp started at 6.55 am the train took me to Birmingham New Street, where I was due to change for the onward train to Manchester, on the way up to Birmingham, we stopped at Wolverhampton train station. My connection was on-time, and I made myself as comfortable as possible in my reserved seat. To my horror, a rather large gentleman poured himself into the seat next to me and mine if truth be told. We set off heading back the way we came and just for the fun of it and to wind me up a little our first stop was, yes, you guessed it, Wolverhampton train station. I could see the next two hours were going to be a bundle of joy as I tried to look at my phone while feeling that I was confined in an invisible straight jacket if only that were the extent of my problems. Mr Creosote decided that after consuming his breakfast which he had brought on board, it was now time to have a little sleep. “What’s wrong with that?” I hear you ask. Mr Creosote promptly started to snore like farmer Giles’s prized Gloucestershire Old Spot pig. Two hours later, frazzled we arrived in Manchester Mr Creosote had been kind enough to wake up in Macclesfield just enough time for my bladder to fill to bursting along with my fit to burst brain after all that snoring. Oh, and I forgot to mention the lad opposite who while sat underneath a sign saying “Please be considerate to those around you” played videos of South Park amongst other things at full volume on his phone. Never heard of headphones arsehole?
I’m not going to do a review of my time at Oggcamp, suffice to say, I had a brilliant time, didn’t attend any talks just spent my time talking to as many of my friends from the FOSS community as possible.
My journey back was due to start at 18.35 now I already knew I had to catch four trains and that The Pond Gods had to be with me for there not to be any problems but looking at the time gaps between connections it didn’t look too dangerous. I was due to change at Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Rugeley Trent Valley. Oh, how wrong was I? My first train left Manchester on time, and we headed for my first change at Stoke-on-Trent; this was the 19.26 which I would change at Stafford. I got off and looked on the board: “Where’s my connection?” I thought, I finally found a Virgin Rail guy but get this, he was too busy to talk to me! What the actual F? Now there were police on the platform and guys in uniform with football badges on. “What’s the matter, mate?” said one of the black-clad guys hanging around with the rozzers. “I’m trying to find my connection to Stafford, but I can’t see it on the information board. “It has been delayed mate; it’ll be in after the Derby train.” What? That train isn’t due in for another 20 minutes! I’ll never make Stafford in time. “What’s the problem, what’s with all the police?” I said. “It’s the Stoke vs Fulham match.” bloody football! You’ve dropped me right in it you bunch of twats. Finally, my train arrived, and a totally fed-up female guard apologised to every passenger that boarded the train. Now while that was nice, it didn’t help me. I showed my eTicket, and she said that there was no way I would make my connection at Stafford. Given the train would stop at, wait for it, WOLVERHAMPTON. I told her that I intended to stay on the train and get off at Wolverhampton and try and catch a bus home to which she replied “It’s up to you.” shrugged her shoulders and scurried off to apologise to more passengers further down the carriage. My favourite part of that journey was the guy wandering up and down the aisle clutching his can of lager; I wasn’t a bit intimidated, was I?
I got off at Wolverhampton ready to have a slanging match with the ticket collector “Oi mate, your ticket isn’t for here.” Only to discover you could walk freely in and out of the station without anyone making any checks whatsoever. The bus station is just across a walkway. I was on home ground as such, so at least knew where I was going; however, it was now very dark and all the ‘night people’ were out. Making my way past the ten or eleven lads jostling each other and any other member of the public who got too close, I went to see if there was a bus to where I live. Damn, the next bus was in forty minutes and to be honest I wanted out of the bus station as quick as possible. My next option and a step closer to home would be to get myself to Walsall luckily there was the 529 in about five minutes.
Sure enough, the bus pulled up at the bay, and we all got on. We soon set off, and as we drove off down the road, nobody had bothered to shut the windows on this motorised ice-box, and people were sat right underneath them! What is the matter with people? Were they scared to close them? I pulled my hoodie over my head now fitting in well with the bus clientele when a guy got on clutching a kebab and staggering toward the empty seat next to me. Oh, fooking great! I’m having the journey from hell, and now you show up. Great, that’s just fantastic. Mr Pisshead promptly started eating and spilling his kebab in pretty much equal measures, I have to admit, it was quite mesmerising watching a length of kebab meat slide down the side of his thigh leaving a beautiful trail of chilli sauce that to all intents and purposes made it look like someone had knifed him in the leg. Fortunately, he got off, and I lept out of my seat slamming the open windows shut with as loud a bang as possible to dissuade anyone from saying “Why you shut them then?” After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived in Walsall.
It was now well after 9 pm, and I went to queue up for the bus that would take me home. The 31 came after about a ten-minute wait, and off we set homeward bound. I bet you are thinking “Phew.” aren’t you? Even though I literally had a ten-minute journey, there was still enough time for Loki to have one last trick up his sleeve. Three stops down and what appeared to be an 80-year-old cloth capped drunken Fred Astaire danced onto the bus. Not content with tripping the light fantastic past several passengers he then sat next to a poor girl in front of me and proceeded to break into Club Style singing stopping every now and then to say “You don’t mind do you? I don’t know any young peoples songs.” you don’t know any old peoples songs I thought. Finally, I arrived at my stop and breathed a sigh of relief as the doors closed behind me.
Every time I use public transport, it reinforces my view that the privacy of one’s own car can never be replaced by peasant transport.