Wednesday 29 July 2009
Today is marked by shit weather for a shit day ahead. I feel like a whale this morning. This is good for nobody. Luckily the walk to the station is a breeze.
This morning seemingly in preparation for tomorrow the trains are fucked. This is what lies ahead.
On the train this morning I spot another person reading the “Celeb Diaries.” What on earth does this say about a person’s dreams and aspirations? Too late!
After being beached outside Liverpool Street as ever the train eventually pulls into the station at 8.06AM. Yup, any industrial action occuring tomorrow and in the future is definitely deserved and justified.
The tube ride to St Johns Wood is nondescript this morning and the walk to the restaurant turns out to be even more quiet.
Upon arrival into the office there is thankfully no nagging email from the consultant which leaves me to just get on with things in my own (more sensible) manner.
Our new office looks magnificent. The walls are clean and with the accident we have cleared out a lot of the files and boxes so now we are no longer suffocating under paperwork. I don’t think the head office of this company has ever had it so good.
Ultimately though it is another disjointed day, half moving office and half doing work. I am currently wrestling with my first VAT return on the new system. I have the result and what the final figures should be it is just extracting the actual make up of the figures that is proving troublesome.
For lunch I have penne with chicken with is an indication that I am feeling good. Then not long afterwards the IT Guy comes into our room with eight desserts from downstairs and I fear by the end of the day I wind up eating five of them.
With more train strikes scheduled for tomorrow I hit the internet for any kind of news and on The Guardian website I come across the best worded and expressed opinion from the passenger’s perspective:
“cantabrigiensis 29 Jul 09, 12:08pm
As a businessman, running a company based in Norwich, I want to say that it is almost impossible to underestimate the damage done to the Norfolk/Suffolk economy by the dire state of the train service run by National Express. The journey time to London, two hours, is far too long for an mainline express service covering only 100 miles. Punctuality is terrible, rolling stock is unreliable, dirty and thirty years old. I have lost count of the number of times partners/customers have complained about the train service and I have been urged to 'relocate to Cambridge or somewhere with decent transport links'. I know first hand that the terrible train service to London was a key factor in Aviva/Norwich Union's decision to relocate its HQ function to London, which will have a devastating and increasing impact on the Norfolk economy. You can only have important managers or customers stuck on broken trains for four hours so many times before patience snaps.
As an individual, the appalling service on the Norwich-London line, particularly on Sundays, when it is often impossible to buy cheap tickets despite uncomfortable three hours bus/train journeys, means that friends,godparents and relatives simply do not want to visit for the weekend any longer. Again, I have lost count of the number of times I hear 'I can't face that train journey'.
As a taxpayer, I resent bitterly National Express's franchise. It seeks to nationalise losses on the East Coast mainline (a previously first class service destroyed post-GNER) whilst privatising profits and receiving state subsidies on the East Anglia franchise. It has broken franchise commitments on restaurant cars and seeks to reduce costs at the expense of customer service at every opportunity. It wastes large sums on pointless branding exercises, such as displaying huge 'National Express' logos on information screens for 50% time, which inconveniences customers who simply want to know how late their train is and reminds them of the corporate entity responsible for the shower of a customer experience. A wise word to National Express - branding is only a good idea if you have a service to be proud of. I'd say the way the trains are being 'run', joint branding threatens the coach business. Staff are obviously demotivated and make it clear they hate their managers whom they consider to be disconnected idiots, and the poor industrial relations shows itself in the terrible service.
A truthful slogan:
National Express: National Disgrace & Regional Disaster.”
Looking elsewhere the severity of the train strike hits me as I see the rescheduled timetable – one fucking train an hour with the last one home appearing to be leaving Liverpool Street at 7PM. Is this a fucking timetable from the blitz? Fuck the RMT part 2 – these cunts are being just as greedy as the people they are striking against.
Eventually the day comes to an end and on the train home I wind up sitting opposite a seemingly 80 year old David Bowie lookalike.
Elsewhere on the train I look across at a girl reading Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Against the purpose of the book however she just appears to be some pseudo hipster so horribly removed from the original sentiments of the books it is disgusting. She just looks like Denise Richards. There is no sport in that.
Back in Colchester I stop by at Balkerne Heights and by the end of my visit both of my parents are individually telling me to “fuck off.”
I get home in time for Big Brother and oh dear Marcus and Noirin begin cuddling again. For me this is a complete compromise on the part of Marcus as he just reveals himself to be the mental midget we were all fearing, a complete wimp and fanny. In the meantime Siavash now appears to have been frozen out into the cold by the pair of them when really all errs are on the part of her and her slaggy ways. Damn I have seen this in practise in the real world so many times before.
I hit the sack.