Travelling on a Bank Holiday was not perhaps the best idea. Even the people at Birmingham New Street Station did not have full information. A group of festival revellers lay in a circle comatose, with a smell that suggested that personal hygiene had not been high on the activity list, as chemicals interacted with body odour in the stale air of the concourse.
So rather than getting in at half nine it was nearer to midnight – late running trains, missed connections and last minute changes all playing their part. Unexpectedly getting off at Plymouth when the train was suddenly terminated (supposedly going through to Penzance) hurriedly grabbing my laptop still playing “House”. Which according to a couple travelling with their daughter from Manchester meant I had missed a confrontation in the seats in front of me. Thank goodness for decent headphones.
They were on the train because, after the plane crash in Spain, the mother did not want to use their return flight to Newquay. Their journey by train was not quite uneventful on the safety front because opposite them two brothers had been drinking, and one of the inebriated gentleman offered his beer to his two infant nephews.
This resulted in language between the brothers that was colourful and the escalation caused the Father to suggest they calm down. To which they said wait till we get to Plymouth – we will have you. I had on my way to the buffet car passed these two men smoking out of the window (wondering if a body minus a head might fall behind me). Much as I would have liked to come to the aid of anyone in this situation I was at this moment watching “TB or not TB”.
At Plymouth I waited with the couple for the train to Cornwall. The brothers were no where to be seen. So instead of getting involved in a brawl I kindly took some offered humbugs and exchanged pleasantries as we waited half an hour for the last train to Cornwall.
So rather like the characters from The Camomile Lawn I got in to Penzance station near midnight.
Before vacating my seat I noticed that people were travelling from one end of the carriage to the other to get off. Picking up my bag at the other end I realised that was because two gentlemen were awe struck by the automatic doors and were giggling away as they used their bodies to stop the doors closing. In the face of such absurdity I decided not to travel to the other end and bravely did what any Englishman would do in the circumstances – kept a stiff upper lip and ignored their antics.
After nine hours travelling what was a short car hop to my final destination of St. Ives (no trains to St. Erth to get to St. Ives so I would have been stuck without transport). Offered a beer by my mother I politely said no, much to her surprise. After the experience of travelling I decided that sobriety and a good night’s sleep was in order.