Stuff Report – 29 December 2014

And here I am back home at Losing it HQ, after a week back home in Wales. If you see what I mean.

Today’s journey involved a train from Pencoed to Cheltenham and then another one from Cheltenham to Newcastle. This isn’t necessarily the quickest way of doing it, as there’s a 35-40 minute wait at Cheltenham, but it’s the least stressful, as it has just the one change, and doesn’t involve the Draughty Shed in the Middle of Nowhere[1] or the 13th Circle of Heck[2].

The fun started when the cattle truck train arrived at Pencoed. It was full. Mutter. So, I had to stand as far as Cardiff. Mutter. At Cardiff, the train emptied, and I could then sit down for the rest of the journey. It arrived at Cheltenham in plenty of time for me to get (and eat) a sarnie (egg and bacon). The next train would have been on time, but was delayed by delayed trains in front of it. But it turned up in reasonable time.

Well, half of it did, anyway. I know this train – it’s the one I usually get when I come back from Bristol. It’s supposed to leave there as a double set – two four coach trains joined together[3], but what arrived was a normal four coach train, which did not include the bit with the coach I was booked into. So guess what? It was full! And as I’d just got on where I could, I had to stand for about 40 minutes until we got to the 13th Circle of Heck, where I was able to battle my way along the platform[4] and get into position for the second bit of the train which was attached there. As I’d invested ¬£20 in a “weekend first upgrade”, I happily took my seat in the almost empty first class coach in the newly attached bit of train.

And it was nice. Wider seats (only three across in a 2+1 configuration), plenty of legroom (my usual problem with long train journeys, and I’m not even all that tall), free Wifi and a free cup of tea with biscuits[5]. The coach remained mostly empty all the way to Newcastle, and was nicely quiet, too. If the normal first class fare wasn’t so high, I’d go for it every time…

One of the pleasures of the route I took is passing under the Severn Bridge, which looks quite lovely in its bright white paint (it was dull grey when I was younger). I got a very bad photo with my phone (too much reflection off the windows), which I’ll share with you now:

Severn Bridge

Severn Bridge

Camera: iPhone 5s
Aperture: ƒ/2.2
Shutter speed: 1/1250s
Focal length: 4.15mm
ISO: 32
Taken: 29 December, 2014
Location: 51° 36.7967′ 0″ N 2° 40.5075′ 0″ W

[1] Sometimes known as Bristol Parkway
[2] Sometimes known as Birmingham New Street, which I’m sure will be very nice when they finish the building works some time in the next 30 years or so
[3] Quiet separate – the only way to get from one part to the other is to get out and walk along the outside. Fro safety reasons, it is not advised to do this when the train is moving.
[4] Not too many casualties
[5] Apparently more food is served outside the holiday period, but I was quite happy with the tea