When I woke up this morning I had 2 working days left to a long-anticipated week and a half’s holiday that I’ve booked because I’m singing in a musical. Last night’s technical rehearsal was not a thing of beauty as as well as 2 working days I also have a STINKING cold and a very sore throat. So I can’t sing. Not great when you’re doing a musical.
So, what I really needed today was a day off work.
“Call in sick,” I hear you cry.
Therein lies a problem. I have been in this job for just under 3 months. So far I have had 3 days off with flu – when I was only 4 weeks into the job, and a late start thanks to a vomiting cat. So calling in sick again doesn’t really give the impression of a healthy, dedicated employee. But I do feel bloody awful. So, what I really needed today was loads and loads of snow.
Scotland and the North of England have loads of snow. Surely it must be Kent’s turn to have a bit?
And lo and behold – this morning I woke up to loads and loads of snow. But not quite enough snow to justify me closing the curtains (well, blinds) and going straight back to bed. Instead, I had to go through the motions of getting to the station so I could phone in from the platform with announcements of cancelled trains playing in the background to show work how hard I’d tried.
It took me 40 minutes to do the 10 minute drive to the station. Unfortunately, the transport problems appeared to end here. Trains were running with delays of around 3 minutes, no more than that. RUBBISH. I had no choice but to get on the train to Cannon Street, vowing to myself that I’d leave early as conditions would undoubtedly get worse during the day. In fact they were getting worse already with the snow steadily getting heavier.
Most of Kent had decided to pull the curtains/blinds and stay in bed. So I got on the train and got a seat. We pulled out of the station on the way to work. One minute later we stopped. Fifteen minutes later we still hadn’t moved. At this point my boss phoned me and told me to work from home. Great. I’m on a train. It isn’t going anywhere. I’ll do that then, shall I?
At this point an announcement came from the driver. Two trains had failed ahead of us and the line was now closed. He was going to reverse back down the track to Barnehurst and terminate there. Excellent, I thought, in one minute I’ll be back at my car.
The driver did exactly what he said he was going to do. He reversed back down the line. Stopping at all the stations along the way? Don’t be ridiculous, why on earth would you do that? On arrival at Barnehurst we were greeted by the news that there were no more trains running. The problem with Barnehurst is that it’s not really a place. It’s one of those stations in between towns. And that means no lorries gritting the roads. Which means buses and cars slipping and sliding all over the place but going nowhere. A guy at the station pointed me in the direction of the bus stop to get me back to the car. Except he pointed me in the wrong direction. By the time I realised this the roads behind me were too slippery to go back. South Eastern trains really are the most utterly inept public transport “service” provider I’ve ever come across. Just when you think they can’t sink any lower, they do something ridiculous like reversing a train down a track without bothering to let people off. Bastards.
Solution? To do the thing I hate most in the world. Something I hate even more than dogs, babies and fish.
To start with I thought I’d walk to the main road. On arrival at the main road I realised the traffic wasn’t moving so I walked to the centre of Bexleyheath. On arrival in the centre of Bexleyheath I realised the traffic wasn’t moving so I walked to Crook Log. On arrival at Crook Log things were even worse so I walked to Welling. Four sodding miles. In the snow. With a cold.
Three hours after getting on my train, I got home. I’ll admit it – I haven’t done much in the way of work today as the whole experience has left me feeling even shitter than I did when I woke up.
Worryingly the snow is easing off this evening which means I’m going to have to go through this bloody farce again tomorrow.
So just hurry up and blizzard damn you.