Sunday, May 27, 2007


To list the crimes of the National Express journey from hell would take too long, so let me just give you the highlights:

  • It wasn't a proper National Express coach, they'd obviously subbed it out to a local coach firm.
  • The coach was not exactly comfortable and as I type this (three days later), my knees and shins are still sore from being wedged up against the set in front.
  • The heating wasn't working and it was bloody freezing. The driver drove with his window open, which meant we all basically sat there shivering in an icy gale. Everyone piled on as many layers as they could and pulled hoods up where available. The guy across the aisle attracted envious glances as he poured out cup after cup of hot drink, primarily it seemed for the purpose of keeping his frozen fingers warm.
  • The inclement conditions were clearly doing little to benefit the owners of the various coughs that surrounded me (a disinclination to remove cold hands from pockets might possibly explain the apparent inability for said individuals to hold their hand up as they coughed up their phlegm).
  • We hadn't gone 200 yards before the driver got into some argy bargy at the lights with another driver. As we turned out onto Whitworth Street the honking of horns continued and he cut right in across the car, all but forcing it off the road (seriously he must have avoided hitting it by about 5mm).
  • The honking and general cutting up continued down the motorway and his behaviour in London traffic was something to behold.
  • The river had his radio turned up so loud, that even halfway down the coach, with my iPod on as loud as my ears could bear, I could still not avoid the tinny noise of crap commercial radio stations.
Call me a diva, but by the time we stopped at a service station near Birmingham, the thought of a return journey of this kind was too much to support and, throwing environmental ethics to the wind, I phoned British Airways and found a return fare of under £60, which at that precise point in time seemed like the most excellent value.

So there we have it folks, £54 and the prospect of avoiding 5 hours of coach based misery appears to be the price of my principles...

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