A good weekend spoilt by the journey home. A motto I feel, for the twenty-first century.
Friday saw your correspondent go to Marlow direct from the office for a games weekend with friends. One of the other chaps in attendance is a rather odd cove, but he managed to be merely annoying and not intolerable for once. And since he brought the games and stood us all a Chinee on Saturday night, I was inclined to forgive his annoying eccentricities.
No, the bulk of the weekend was good and I enjoyed the games, the company and the leeching off someone’s wireless link.
The fun came grinding to a halt on Sunday evening. I use the phrase ‘grinding to a halt’ advisedly, for there is no more descriptive way of relating the journey home.
I left Marlow (cadging a lift from mine host) at 7.30 with a view to catching the 8.00 train from High Wycombe. A half hour allocation for a 7 mile journey should be more than enough even for the over-populated South East of England.
Or so you’d think.
Anyway, I was less than pleased to arrive at High Wycombe station at 8.50 having spent much of the intervening hour and twenty minutes sitting in a traffic jam on the lead up to Junction 4 of the M4. Expect Delays
the sign said. It wasn’t joking. The entire junction was re-routed, coned off, part dug up and generally in a mess. I saw one man toying with a pick axe and as we went around the roundabout, another couple of blokes wandering around like a detachment from rent-a-mob
, scratching their bums and trying to make it look as though there were, in fact, more than three people there and that work was being done.
My misery at this point had been compounded by the fact that in an attempt to keep his six year old daughter quiet (she had come along for the twenty minute return trip –Ha!) Martin was playing a chart compilation CD she likes1
The 9.00 train was mercifully on time, but back in London the Underground was having its usual weekend spasms, so it was on to the rail replacement service at Camden Town as far as East Finchley. To be fair, once I found the (unmarked) bus stop it was operating from, it wasn’t much slower than the tube would have been. But exiting Camden Town station and finding the stop is an exercise in existential Hell all of its own. At that time of night on a Sunday, the place is crowded with revellers aged between 16 and 35, I would guess; most of them drunk and all of them in high spirits and largely oblivious of anyone not indulging in their own brand of hedonism. It is a poor place to be if you are sober, hot, tired, weighed down with bags and just want to find an unidentified bus stop and go home.
Eventually I got to East Finchley, more worn out than ever. From there, I decided I couldn’t be bothered to go on to the station and pick up the tube again. That would have involved lugging stuff up the hill at Whetstone and I really, really, couldn’t be arsed, so I decided that the 263 bus was a better choice. Except that after a lengthy wait, the 234 presented itself as a better option. Poor choices all round. The 234 buggers off through a panoramic (?) and lengthy itinerary around Muswell Hill before getting on with the real business of heading out to Barnet.
11.30 is not a good time to get home after a journey covering at most 60 miles and taking four hours.
I didn’t sleep too well either, though I managed to conjure up an intriguing dream in which romney
had decided to install a very expensive and Heath Robinson
fire prevention devise in his flat as a viable alternative to tidying up. The irony was, of course, that he had to move all of the offending detritus to make room for the workmen to install the thing. Still, it was a work of beauty and he demonstrated how the tough plastic shutters effectively trapped flames against the glass in the windows where they slowly went out through lack of material to burn. The flat, denuded of all other content had assumed the proportions of a warehouse and as we were pondering this we were called to church by another mutual friend who had unaccountably become a vicar. That’s when I woke up at 5 am desperate for a pee.
Normally it is Elle who has and remembers the odd dreams. I must be channelling. Either way I am very tired today and like to call off the evening’s game session; we are short of a ruletwo
anyway, as he has been off defeating the enemies of Parliament.1A comparatively elderly CD too, judging by the content. I was not particularly wound up by Britney Spears or even, surprisingly, the Cheeky Girls. I sat through four consecutive replays of an unidentified Latin-stylee dance number and that didn’t wind me up either. Then came a song about McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut. I traded a sixty second limit on listening to that for a re-set of the CD to track one. It’s stuff like that that make you realise precisely what a mistress of her art is Britney. God help us.