woensdag 5 november 2014

A Creepy Journey

Sometimes you have to do things that you know you’d be better off not doing, or maybe doing them some other time. We had to travel to Cornwall from Norwich on a Sunday. This journey took us through London. Everybody advises you not to travel from Norwich to London on a Sunday!

We took the first train. It was the end of January, so it was pitch black. Till Stowmarket the situation was very normal, although it was surprising to see how empty this train was. This could be caused by the unholy hour that we were travelling. There were announcements on the train: we had to get off at Stowmarket and would be transported by bus from there to Marks Tey. This was because of work on the rail roads. According to people on the train this work is very slow in progress, they thought this was going on some twenty years already.

I was surprised by the type of buses buses that we boarded. They were ancient red double deckers. It did seem a bit touristy to me. When we got on board reality hit me. There was no heating. Already a guy was reading a book with mittens on. A man tried to read a paper with gloves. I put my hands deep in my pockets and shivered. After everybody was seated, the bus drove away. If I had wanted to talk this would have been impossible by the noise the old thing made.

Soon we were on the highway. I had to think of a saying of my wife: “In East Anglia we don’t need speed ramps, we just let the roads be in a bad condition.” We were shaken and stirred at the same time. I was amazed at the people who tried to read on. I watched outside and was astounded by a traffic sign which said: “Road might be flooded during heavy rainfall”. Why on earth would you put a sign like this next to the road, why didn’t they do something about it? I can imagine signs like this in a desert, but in this part of the world rain and even heavy rain is a very common thing.

The cold made me sniffy and I started to sneeze. I was not the only one, so we had a break in the silence. Finally we parked in what seemed to me the middle of nowhere. So we got our belongings and walked like tamed sheep in a row towards some very bright street lights. From a distance they reminded me of stadiumlights. There was no escaping from the narrow pathway that lead us to a platform.

Somehow everybody must have felt the same way: it was dead silent, nobody uttered a word.
“Oh my God, I expect SS-men with German Shepherds any moment”, my wife whispered, “They will remove all our hair and our gold teeth”. She took the words out of my mouth and maybe of all the other travellers. This was Marks Tey. I couldn’t see any buildings or houses in the neighbourhood. Probably this is not a city, just a platform.

After spending what seemed hours a train suddenly appeared out of the darkness. On the platform was no sign whatsoever about where this train was going to, and on the train itself was no sign for that either. Everybody stepped in anyway, trying to get away from the cold. One person asked us if this train was going to London. We just shrugged, he sighed and we sat down.

They had probably cleaned this train or it had been riding through a stream or such. The water on the floor almost reached my ankles. The rail road company was reducing expenses it seemed, again we had no heating. After some ten minutes the train suddenly left Marks Tey. Minutes later somebody told us on the intercom this was the train to London and even the heating started a bit.
We were very happy to get off at Liverpool Street Station in London.

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