Sunday, March 08, 2009

My Saturday mornings usually consist of dozing lightly with Brian Matthew on in the background, but yesterday, I was out of the house at 8.35am with a purposeful stride. Unfortunately, my purpose was to reach Lowestoft station by 8.42am, a journey I know to take 10 minutes. The plan was to catch the train to London, spend the afternoon researching at Colindale, then head off to see a much-loved band of my formative years in concert. Amazingly, with a bit of light running, I made it to the station just in time to see my train pull out. As it was an advance ticket, tied to the service I'd missed, there was no point in hanging around and catching a later train. My emotions were mixed. I was moderately annoyed to be missing the show, although I have seen the band in question enough times not to mope about not making it. I was fairly annoyed to have spent £30 on a concert ticket for no good reason. Most of all, though, I was cheesed off at the waste of £32 on the rail fare. However, as sticking to the plan would have involved even more expenditure - another bloody ticket to Colchester at the very least, plus a Travelcard at the other end, not to mention nosh and drinks - I decided that cutting my losses and going back home was the best option.

As the day wore on, I occasionally thought about where I'd have been at that given moment, had I caught the train. Oddly, instead of gnashing my teeth and cursing my tardiness, I started to feel relieved that I hadn't gone anywhere. Instead of sitting in a venue I know to be horrible simply to hear music that I know backwards forwards and sideways, paying through the nose for beer I wouldn't touch under any other circumstances, and then struggling to get back to my mother's house for a few hours' kip, I was at home, listening to Paul Barnes on the wireless, making a curry and sharing a bottle of Albanian burgundy with the GLW. I started to feel that, had the concert ticket and travel been free, I'd have paid £62 willingly not to have to go anywhere. I'm getting old. And, you know what? I love it. I'll just have to wait for the tour DVD.


LibraDoodle said...

Not only young, but shorter, I find. The policemen that is!

Clive said...

You've got me intrigued, which band was this?

JM said...

I find it quite touching that even in your dotage your lack ability to co-ordinate your movements to those required by train timetables remains undimmed.

Many of my favourite Barfe memories involve trains and the near missing thereof. They include:

- July 1994, assisting you in the process of throwing your worldly goods down the steps to the platform at Lancaster station in order that they can then be tossed onto the train that is poised to depart.

- February 2001, loitering with your then better half on the platform at Euston station until literally the very last second before departure, brimming with the vain optimism that you will actually appear at the barrier and thus catch the pre-booked train to the university reunion and not ultimately have to follow four hours later on another service.

- September 2005, sitting wryly on a train at Kings Cross along with the rest of my wedding party, wondering if your text messages updating us on your progress will ultimately stand as testament to your missing of this train.

That last one I remember you actually caught, much to the distress of Mad Frankie Fraser whose presence in First Class was duly broadcast to the rest of our carriage.