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£45 for a cup of coffee!

dream-coffeeI’ve always been a chatterbox and this trait comes in very handy when spending 4 hours of my day travelling to and from work . If I am too tired to read or finish the crossword I usually find someone to talk to and yesterday was no exception. This time however, the guy sitting opposite me was doing all the talking and I was trying not to laugh so much that he thought I was being rude but……I just had to.

He is clearly  not used to travelling by train, a point he was at pains to emphasise when he told me about his morning adventure. He had unwittingly sat  in the First Class carriage holding only a Standard Class ticket. He did not know that seats in First Class are blue not red and how he overlooked the “First Class “signs plastered all over the windows, doors and seat covers I will never know. Oblivious to all the other tell-tale signs that he had strayed into First Class (numerous copies of the FT, huge seats (in comparison), no children etc)  he gratefully and unwittingly accepted a cup of coffee when it was offered to him-well who wouldn’t? 

That was his big mistake and it wasn’t long before he was rumbled by the Inspector when she asked to check his ticket. If only he hadn’t accepted that coffee I think he would have got away with a warning and a request to move to his rightful seat in Standard Class but she wasn’t going to let him escape that easily and promptly demanded £45 as payment for an upgrade including refreshments already received.

Oops!   

Cutting a very long (15 minutes worth) story very short, he did get away with it in the end, and that in itself would make a separate tale to tell but you probably wouldn’t believe me if I repeated it.  

His parting shot just before I left my seat….. 

“Those people in First Class are really serious…..it’s much friendlier here!”

 You’ll be heading for the red seats in future then!

When was the last time I was scared?

Truly scared? Scared for my life?

That would be when I rolled my car into a ditch on 31 January 2006. I have never had any points on my licence, no speeding fines; and I hate it when people drive too fast, refuse to wear their glasses or carry on with no regard for fellow road users. So how come I managed to roll my car into a ditch and land upside down?

A momentary lapse of concentration on a dark and frosty morning led to me sliding sideways on a patch of icy mud by the local farm, hitting the kerb and turning my Peugeot over. I wasn’t driving fast, but I had to admit to the policeman who breathalysed me (negative) that I was clearly driving too fast for the conditions. It happens. All I can say that I held on to the steering wheel as tight as I could, swore a lot (F***ing Hell was the phrase of the day) and waited for the car to finish performing its stunt.

I was lucky. I managed to climb out of the back window which had smashed, clamber out of the ditch and call for help. being highly claustrophobic I left the engine running, the lights and radio on as I could smell petrol and escaped from the scene as fast I could. I was truly impressed when the ambulance arrived after 12 minutes; the fire engine after 15 but not so impressed 30 minutes later when the police arrived to a standing ovation for their fellow emergency services colleagues.

The ambulance staff took my pulse rate and blood pressure and commented that they were perfectly normal and very impressed they were too after my surprise acrobatics. I wasn’t so impressed as I was reading about the Apollo astronauts at the time and told them that “Buzz” Aldrin had sat in Apollo 11 at launch with a pulse rate less than mine at rest!

Fortunately all was well. I had no concussion and was able to return to work the following week. The experience has however left me a nervous passenger and it is not one that I would care to repeat.

My son and his friends who were 10 at the time however were well impressed that I had managed to roll a car into a ditch, land upside down, write it off and survive the experience and when I collected Will from school at the end of the week I found myself surrounded by boys wanting to know the fine details in amongst gasps of disbelief and respect!

For a day at least, I was a hero!