Blimey! What an evening. And it’s not yet 7.45.
Firstly, I went to the station to get my train home, which duly arrived on time. I got on, sat down. And waited. After four or five minutes, I looked out the door and could see that there was a problem as the signal was still set to red and the guard was on the platform. So I hopped out and had a chat with him.
Turns out that the train ahead (“one of them new sprinter trains to Cardiff” which are at least 15 years old – but that is bang up-to-date compared to our 40 year old slam door trains) had broken down *and* a train going the other way had “failed” as well. So, knowing that this wasn’t going to be cleared quickly, I jogged out of the station, grabbed a couple of other people that wanted to get to Chichester (beats paying the whole fare myself), and got in Barnham’s only waiting taxi. As we were going along, the taxi radio operator starting announcing booking after booking for Chichester from the station.
Not a good start for Network Rail, although I guess the chances of two trains breaking down at the same point is fairly remote.
So then to Buzby and Blue. 45 minutes having a laugh with Jo, talking about my dismal lovelife as usual. In that way that only Jo has, she asked another customer if she knew anyone looking for a boyfriend.
JO: “Would she like Graham?”
WOMAN (after looking me up and down): “Yes, I think so”
JO: “Ok, here’s his mobile number”
Ummm. How this woman knows that I’m anyway half decent, based on a three second long meeting, I really don’t know, but it’ll be interesting to see what comes of that. And god knows what this poor girl is like!
Anyway, after all that, I headed off for my walk to Fishbourne and the harbour, going a bit further than I usually do (6km / 3.75 miles) because it was such a lovely evening, and there were lots of wading birds on the mud exposed by a very low tide. On this particular route, I cross the railway, and as I walked down, I could see a train waiting at the signal there (a place they hardly ever stop). On the way back, 40 minutes later, the sirens and lights were sounding on the crossing, but there was a policeman there to guide users across as the train was still there, and (the policeman told me) was unlikely to be going anywhere for a while. I feel sorry for the people who have now been sat there for at least two hours, if not more.
As I got further back up Westgate towards the city, I could see more blue flashing lights. There in the middle of the road was a Ford Mondeo estate on its roof. The occupants had clearly been cut out, as there was some blood, and been taken away. There wasn’t any other car obviously involved, and it must have been going at a fair speed on what is a slow road (speed bump central) in order to end up on its roof. And it never ceases to amaze me that some drivers are so stupid – I saw at least two (both elderly women) drive past a very obvious (in the middle of the road) POLICE – ROAD CLOSED sign towards the accident (with panda car with lights on) and then have to turn around in the road and go back. I mean, duh!
Walking back along Mount Lane towards Waitrose, I passed the works on the replacement foot/cycle bridge across the Lavant, which was washed out in the flooding two years ago. The workmen have dammed the riverbed with a bank of rubble and soil to prevent water rushing down through their workings. Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain heavily in the next few weeks, else the city will be flooded, as I don’t think the other channel (that runs past Waitrose itself) has the capacity to cope with a flood.
Waitrose itself was quiet, but as I left I could see a large crowd of disgruntled commuters at the railway station – and two ambulances and two police cars, lights flashing. Goodness knows what was going on there.
So it’s actually quite nice to get home to a nice warm cosy flat. What a hectic evening!