Friday, 29 July 2016

Travelling hopefully

"They" say that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.


Whoever "they" are, they haven't been living in this little corner of the globe during the past month or so.

First - and possibly affecting the most people - there are the problems on the railway.  There have been intermittent strikes by guards because the train company intends to bring in new trains on which the doors will be controlled by the drivers instead of the guards.  And on top of that, there have been unprecedentedly high levels of sickness.  The result, a new timetable with a considerably reduced number of trains, overcrowding on station platforms and general misery for commuters.  And the guards have now announced a 5-day strike in a couple of weeks' time.  And guess what? the 7.40-something train from Brighton to Bedford, calling at various London stations, is officially the most overcrowded train in the country.  Designed for 420 passengers, it regularly carries 960! That's 229% over capacity at 8.20am at London Blackfriars.  I'm so happy not to be commuting these days.

And then there's Easyjet.  Or, to be specific, the Easyjet flights between the UK and Munich.  My new daughter-in-law teaches in Munich so she and my son are regular flyers on the route to and from London Gatwick,  It was about two months ago, before the wedding anyway, Soon to be d-i-l travelled from Munich to Edinburgh to spend the weekend with her grandmother.  On arrival at Edinburgh airport for the return flight on the Sunday evening, she learned that the flight had been cancelled.  Passengers had been booked onto the next flight, leaving the following Friday!  She rang a colleague to explain that she would not be at work on the Monday and spent another night with her Gran.  The next day she flew to London Luton and from there to Munich.

A similar thing happened to my son just last weekend.  He had flown to Munich with the intention of travelling back Sunday evening.  Once again the flight was at first delayed, and then rescheduled for Monday morning.  On boarding the rescheduled plane, he learned that they would be landing at Luton, not Gatwick (where his car was).

It's not much better - if at all - on the ferries.  Last weekend there was a 15-mile queue of cars trying to get to Dover.  Some people even ended sleeping in their cars in the queue!  It all stemmed from a lack of French immigration officers (who are based in Dover) to check people boarding the ferries. At one time there was just one on duty!

We are due to travel through the tunnel tomorrow.  I foresee a lengthy journey.

Better to travel hopefully than to arrive?  I think not!

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