Chiltern Ramblings: 01

An occasional series of blog posts from the weekly journey to/from London Marylebone

Damn. The cleaner – no, not cleaner – the conductor just came along asking to see my ticket.

And in so doing she blew right out of my head the most excellent post that I’d started to compose.



No, it’s gone.


Bloody hell, look at that field of Linseed!

It’s bright purple.

Looks kind of alien against the rich greenness of the Oxfordshire countryside.

Yes, I’m on the train; London-bound.


Two matching grey ponies standing in their paddock; dressed in matching navy blue lightweight rugs.

Which is where – and how – Vin will be right now; it’s too early for breakfast.

He’ll probably be standing up – fast asleep – with that expression on his face, the one he adopts when the lights are on but no-one’s home.

On this journey so far I’ve read a chapter of my current book, copied this weekend’s podcast playlist over to the master list and reset the playlist ready for the contents that will make up next weekend’s playlist.

Whatever that (or they) may be.

Hang on a minute, here comes the lady with the refreshment trolley.

And Dan Klass is talking in my ears.

This is one of those moments when the females who tune in say, “Awwww the poor man. Completely unable to multi-task”.

Actually I can multi-task.

I do it all the time.

But I’ll get back to you in a couple of minutes, OK?


Right, I’m back.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

Bicester North.

Hahahaha, so funny.

Bloody hell it’s chucking it down out there.

Right, anyway; update on what’s been going on here.

The lady with the refreshment trolley (hereafter called Julie) and I had what is becoming our customary Monday morning chat.

Julie asks if I want tea or coffee, I make a decision and while she prepares my beverage she asks about Vin, and I update her on what’s new and what’s in the next stage of our plan for the domination of the equestrian world.

So no girls, I can’t multi-task to that extent.

I can’t have a conversation with Julie of the refreshment trolley and listen to Dan Klass and bang out blog entries all at the same time.

And you can stop looking quite so smug because I bet you can’t do those things at the same time – not effectively.

OMG, I just giggled aloud.

Dan did that to me.

It’s not that I’ve just been sitting here and I suddenly burst in to a fit of giggles for no reason.

It’s all your fault Danny boy.

The trouble is, the guy sitting next to me?

He thinks I’m a mentalist.

Dan’s telling us about his daughter’s existentialist sense of humour which, as well as making me giggle aloud gives me a large degree of satisfaction to know that I’m not the only father in the world with a daughter who has an existentialist sense of humour.

The example he used was when his daughter said:
‘Knock knock’
‘Who’s there?’
‘Microphone who?’
‘The microphone forgot to open the door!’


Get your head around that one you poor parents of non-existentialist children.

Fuck me, there’s a fly in here.

Can you believe this?

Did it pay full fare or does it get a discount because it’s not going to occupy a seat?

Yeah, there’s not a great deal of need to answer that one.


Writing update.

Chapter 4 of The New Novel continues despite the pitchy, patchy effort I’m putting in to the book.

The degree of effort of input seems directly related to my mental state.

Christ, that’s this book doomed!

[long pause]

I’m now wondering if half of the people on this train understand their commitments under the Data Protection Act?

Yeah, that’s a big rhetorical one.

Ah, but the things I could tell you that my sharp little eyes have gleaned!

It’s so fucking wrong that twats have such a diminished sense of their place in the world that they feel the need to open up electronic or hardcopy information and ‘work on it’ on the train.

Pathetic little egos needing a public boost.

Sad gits.

A really good ISO would have most – if not all – of these practices stopped dead in its tracks (and the staff involved disciplined harshly).

Case in point: guy sitting next to me.

He works (or is involved in some professional capacity) with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The DWP is a very large, important, central government department.

And the guy sitting next to me – I have his name, easily culled from from the many email hardcopies he has previously printed out and is now scrawling ‘To Do’ things on – is ‘working on the train’ on many sensitive pieces of information.

Several of them are so sensitive that they carry a security classification – across the top of them and threaded sideways across the page is the word R E S T R I C T E D.

How would this guy – let’s call him, ummm, Tony – even begin to think that the inside of a Chiltern Trains rail carriage is a place where working on classified is appropriate?

Does Tony, I wonder, even have permission from his ISO – or his line manager – to remove classified documents from his office?

By the way Tony, I’ve just googled you.

I now have your telephone number to add to your forename, surname, email address and – get this – the name of the government committee whose papers you were reading.

Are you real Tony?

Do you honestly believe that this is acceptable behaviour for a public servant?

Because let’s get this straight Tony, you are a public servant.

You work for us.

Yet your professional standards fall far short of my expectations.

So as your employer Tony let me give you a quick message.

Don’t forget to collect your P45 on the way out.

What you’re doing is not safe.

If you can’t get your work done in your allotted time in the office, you’re either ineffective or your workload needs reprioritising.

[long pause]

High Wycombe looks nice from the train.

Can’t comment on how it is from any other perspective, obv.

Damn you and your catchy abbreviation of the word ‘obviously’, Anna Pickard.

Too clever by half you are.

Oh no, I’ve slipped in to Jedi mode.

07.23 – about half an hour until arrival in Marylebone.

Soph’s still in bed – she’s on leave today.

Time to knock this on the head.

Have a good day, people.


Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.