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On Travelling Hopefully: The View from Platform 4

Today marks the appearance of the first ever guest post to appear on my blog, and it’s fitting that the first guest author be none other than my own dear Papa.

Mr A.R.H. Cook (Rob to you, Dad to me), spends most of his time running this joint (visit the website, store, or shop on wheels, for all your Christian book requirements) but has kindly taken a spot of time out to write a wee post for us. I do hope you enjoy it.


The author Bill Bryson opens his book ‘the Lost Continent’ with the words: “I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.” I spent much of my youth in Middlesbrough, and know just what he means.
On Friday, fulfilling my filial duty, I paid the ‘Boro one of my regular visits. But on this occasion I went by train rather than car, resulting in a diverting 20 minutes at Carlisle station.

On the opposite platform were the 13th Carlisle Scout Group on their way to some Jubilee Jamboree somewhere north of the Border:

– while a merry group of Network Rail workers were playing on the railway lines in front of them
(Children, remember you must never do this, even if you do have shiny orange romper suits to wear.)

Meanwhile on our platform a wee man was stopping everyone and asking them to show their tickets – something of a novelty, as nearly half the trains operating out of Carlisle are local services where you buy your ticket from the conductor on the train!

So, wondering what might happen if someone came to wave off a friend or relative (or entire Scout Group) on their journey, I asked him whether there was such a thing as a platform ticket these days? Er, no. What planet are you from?
Right on cue, along came an elderly passenger, with handbag, a walking stick, and a companion bringing her wheeled suitcase. The companion, who was not travelling, didn’t have a ticket. So, after a moment’s thought the ticket-checker said “No, I’m afraid I can’t let you through without a ticket”. But chivalry and customer service won the day. He took the passenger’s bag himself and escorted her to the right place on the platform – abandoning his post so people could just wander in and out without needing to show a ticket.
Perplexing – as also is what looks suspiciously like a ‘Learner’ plate on the front of the train we were about to board …

In summary: thanks Pops.

This entry was published on June 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm. It’s filed under Guest Posts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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