Category Archives: Public Transport

Waiting for the train that never comes!

Honestly, if I never travel with Trans Pennine Express again, after 3 weeks time, it will still be too soon. Though to be fair to them, it would be right to say that today they were only 50% to blame, the other half falling firmly on the shoulders of National Rail.

But, if TPE had been honest on the situation a little earlier, instead of 30 minutes after the train was due, I might have been able to rescue matters. Of course, if I had, you wouldnt be getting this bonus blog rant, so…

So, the story of my morning was as follows…

I left here at 8.30 this morning, to walk across (just under 10 minutes) to where I have to get the bus, when I make an early start on a Sunday morning, as the first bus from the estate is 9.08. As it happens, I could have got the 9.38, but more on that shortly.

The train was due at 9.18. At 9.12, it was showing as on time, quite a rare sight with TPE. But then, it started showing as later, and later, until…at 9.42 an announcement was made. Seemingly, there was a ‘slight’ over run on the engineering works between Manchester and Huddersfield, and to quote the announcer, they had no idea when a train might turn up, but they would let us know later, if, and when one would.

So, I did a rapid dash to a nearby Hills shop, rang work to let them know I wasnt going to be in by 10.00, funnily enough. I went back to the station, nothing had changed. So I gave up the fight, got a bus home, and gave up on the day, and a days wages. I might, even then have got to work very late, with a lift, but blamelessly (not knowing what a joke TPE was today) Nicole had made other plans, so that was that!

I know, I cant blame TPE for over running engineering works, and I dont. But what I can blame them for, is the lack of useful information. All they were doing on the departure board, was every minute, adding another minute to the expected arrival time. In the end, seemingly, the train arrived 61 minutes late! I expect it was ‘slightly crowded’ by then, rolls eyes!

So, TPE, please, just let us passengers, who you rip off so regularly know whats really happening with their trains.

No, given their utter incompetence, its not going to happen!

Yes, the video is dedicated to what I was doing today, waiting for the train that never came!

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Life can get crazy at times!

Yes, I am back! Sorry, but the last 10 days or so have been a bit crazy (to put it mildly), and I really havent felt in the right state of mind to post things, for various reasons. Hey, I’m not sure I am now, but lets give it a whirl.

Firstly, the body work job! Yes, that worked wonderfully, really, really pleased with it, though I must admit, it was a few days before my lips recovered, even after the rest of the body looked fine. But everything is great now, in that sense, and as promised, I will post a photo at some point, just havent got any at the moment that I can use, so… But yes, the whole thing made me realise maybe how physically frail I am, as on top of the bug, the whole thing just knocked me over completely. Lets just say I slept well, and leave it at that.

There had been rumours at work of changes being made in staffing, most of which didnt sound good to me. So, when I got an email late Tuesday evening, asking me to ring one of the bosses, I had an inkling, I didnt want to know. Due to my lack of mobile phone, and a lengthy delay on the train, care of Cross Country (over an hour, compensation requested, though nothing heard yet on that front), it was actually about 4.45 on Wednesday before I heard the news, that my section of the department would soon be no more. Various options available, so on to Plan B, more of which later.

Yes, that bug, virus or whatever it was, combined with everything else, has still been laying me low, until the last couple of days. Even now, the cough isnt entirely gone, just better, but…

But as I say, Plan B. A job had caught my eye anyway, that was just the push needed to really do something about it. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I had a phone interview on Sunday morning, and I’ve got a ‘proper’ interview in London, on Monday. Would be quite something if I can get that, and get the redundancy money from my current job, but these sort of things dont usually happen for me, so…lets wait and see.

Looks like the black dress will be coming out again, though I’m not sure if I can face wearing heels all the way to London and back. Might take them with me, might just wear my wedge heels (no balance issues), or I might go mad! Suspect the first option is the most likely one.

Apart from all that, the only other big event was Nicole’s birthday, also on Sunday. Dinner out etc, had a wonderful time.

And really, thats it, or the edited version of it, anyway. As you can see, its been a bit crazy, a bit tiring on the middle aged body, but finally, I’ve appeared again.

The video, not the greatest Abba song of all time, but it seemed apt.

Due to work shifts, and things, its quite possible it will be next Wednesday before I write again. My only day off in that period is Monday, and well, I’ve got an interesting trip to make then!

Oh, I forgot, the wonders of online shopping, and the like. Due to the snow today, I didnt get out as planned. Therefore I thought I’d get my railway ticket online, using my pre paid card, once topped up. Only thing is, it didnt work! Got an error message on the East Coast website when I went to buy, but the system has taken the money off the card, but no tickets! Seemingly, it will be about 7 days before this corrects itself. So in the meantime, I’ve got to pay again for the railway ticket, and then I’ll have money on the card that I dont need! Aargh!

Merry Christmas Everybody

Yes, right song, but not the artist you’re probably expecting! 😛

So fine, what can I say about the 2 days of Christmas so far? Yesterday was a fine example of Trans Pennine Express at their worst, though with a surprising twist to events. To be fair, before I left home, I knew the 7.17 train was cancelled, just because they felt like it, season of no goodwill with them, and all that. But, if the bus had turned up on time here (it is a First bus, mind), I might have got the 6.56 train, and all would have been fine. No, it turned up 5 minutes late, and the rest was history. I actually got to work with about a minute to spare to log in, but certainly wasnt ready for calls at 8.00.

The day was fine, the odd busy patch, but then, towards the end, when there really wasnt anything to bet on, things did calm down slightly. Then, getting home for Christmas. Unlike Chris Rea, I wasnt driving, but relying on TPE to get me home. Shock horror, the trains were running late. But, in a body blow for TPE, the late running train (only 10 minutes late at Huddersfield) was just about in time for me to run, and catch the bus before the one I was expecting to get. So I got home early with them, there’s an irony!

And so to today. When everyone finally got here, (part of Nicole’s family, staying at a hotel in town), it was time to open presents. A eide collection of items, including curling tongs (to do those Harlow curls), slippers (needed, my current pair are more than on their last legs), and numerous other things too, including a lovely brooch.

Oh, a picture of me on the day, oh fine, there is one.

me, at Christmas

Definitely a fine cleavage there lol!

You can guess the rest, a very good Christmas dinner, a quiet (of sorts) period since then recovering from over eating. And then…back to work tomorrow! Taxi to and from work, so was considering being saucy, and wearing a dress, but given the possible weather forecast, maybe not, gone for a warmer option! Besides which, might be a bit contro when I go out to get lunch in Sainsbury’s! Mind, there might be a bit of turkey around here, for a sandwich tomorrow, so…lol.

The video, yes, its the Slade song, so famous at this time of year, but not the Slade version. In fact, this guy was around, and having hits at the time it first came out, and comes from Yorkshire. I suppose you could say this is the moment when glam rock met big band, and this was the result

Hope you’ve all had a good day too.

Public transit, a little shopping, and lots of snow!

So fine, picking up from where I left off last time around.

Yesterday morning, at 11.00, I was picked up from my hotel by S, and whisked back to Worcester, to catch the bus back to Albany. Another entertaining chat en route, which led to me discovering that in fact ‘Jean’ was still in my head, and just needed releasing, to make a show. First S did it, just to sort things out between him, her, and me. More correctly, him, my sub concious and me, but that’s just nit picking. Next thing I know, I’m told to do it for myself, and lo and behold, here’s Jeannie!

But before anyone gets any ideas, there are only 2 people that can wake her up, S, and me! Carla is safely tucked away though, before anyone thinks otherwise.

So fine, I’ve quickly discovered that there is a firm that makes Trans Pennine Express look punctual, and that’s Greyhound buses! Anyway, we finally get away from Worcester about 20 minutes late, and head for the Mass Pike, and the journey home. Big snag, accident on the Mass Pike, was a crawl (or slower) for the first 10 miles, and we finally reached Albany 2.5 hours late! Consolation, the most wonderfully sweet taxi driver on the way home, lovely guy, got a better tip than I normally would give, for sure!

Fine, it was well publicised on the news, and on websites that Albany was going to get hit by a big snow storm about the middle of today. So fine, I went out early, and not far, to a nearby Mall. Alright, time for a little fun, I let ‘Jean’ go shopping instead. Now, that was fun! Main moment of amusement, well it seems that Jean possesses quite a Kansas accent. Slightly combined with my own, but predominantly…

Fun moment, when I mentioned about flying back to the UK to one of the cashiers, given my Kansas accent, she asked me when I moved to the UK. I muttered some random year, and just left it at that! Alright, I did think about getting my sub concious to swap me back, change accents totally, (and huskiness of voice) and confuse her, but I’m a good girl, so I didnt.

By the time I got back out of there, the snow was in free fall, with plenty on the ground. Sadly this morning, I’d lived up to my blonde reputation, and only gone out in shoes, and a medium ‘strength’ coat, instead of boots and anorak. I knew it was coming, so why I did that…no idea?

Its different, seeing so much snow, when its only November. The last time I saw this, was about 2000, in Kirkenes, Norway, and thats the other side of the Arctic Circle! Mind, that was the beginning of November, not the end, so…

Right, you’re now up to date, and no, despite the clearness of the roads at least, I’ve decided to forego the Ice Hockey match in town tonight. I’m not the biggest fan of the sport, but if the weather had been good, I might well have gone. But now…

The video, sums up today’s weather really.

Catching up on things

Yes, you may, or may not have noticed there wasnt a blog yesterday, well, there wasnt really enough to post on, in all honesty. Very much a calm day, after the storm of Tuesday, shall we say?

It did allow me to catch up on a few things that needed doing, so there was some blessing from such a day. But be it sinus issues, a cold she had caught or whatever, on top of the tough day driving Tuesday, Kate was struggling with her health.

We went out to eat in the evening though, and ended up at a burger restaurant of the quality kind, unlike some bunch that have a clown (apt?) as their spokesman, and had a really good meal. Seriously, when did McD’s last cook a burger fresh, for everyone? So yes, in the US, eat at 5 Guys instead, just saying…

Jean Harlow would probably have wanted to ‘make eyes’ at all 5 guys, I settled for the 1 serving us, but not surprisingly, didnt work, no discount lol!

So this morning, after saying our goodbyes, Kate and I went our separate ways. Me, I set out to discover Kansas City, and its public transit system. Like most US systems (unlike ours), its cheap, and it works! I headed for the Country Club Plaza, and my only mistake was in looking for an indoor shopping centre, not an outdoor one. Ah well, they do generally call the indoor ones malls lol!

Beyond that, the biggest news event today was happening back across the pond, the Scottish independence vote. And no, I have no estimates on how the voting has gone, though it has been mentioned on the news over here at least.

Tomorrow, the last full day, I’m planning on going into the heart of KC, and see what its like, should be fun.

The video, well this is Scottish independence vote day, and this blog is coming from America, so…a live version, pretty recent

The boys (and girls) of summer have gone

Well, hopefully not literally true, but here in the UK at least, its the last Bank holiday before Christmas, so in that sense, we’ve reached that landmark of this summer. And guess what, here in the UK, as is traditional, the weather has been pretty awful today. Irony, they arranged the first one day international for today, and it was wiped out without a ball being bowled. Whereas, had it been any other weekend, it would have been yesterday, when the weather was much better! Ah well…

Fortunately, for me at least, I should still have at least 1 more week of high temperatures, when I hit Kansas City in 3 weeks time. Hey, they are getting heat advisories at present, because its too hot! And fine, I wont object too loudly if its only in the 80’s by then, not high 90’s!

Strangely enough, given my job, I havent been at work today, having time to write a blog might be a big giveaway on that to some lol! Not that I mind, because the bus service on a Bank Holiday still runs to a Sunday service. Whatever I say about the trains, at least they’ve caught up with modern life, and run a normal service. Well, as normal as Trans Pennine Express will ever achieve anyway! But the bus companies still think that a Sunday service will suffice on a day when its now just a normal working day for so many.

OK, so neither has yet caught up to the fact that Sunday’s are much the same, and sadly its a fact of life thats unlikely to change. But Bank holidays, seriously…? Anyway, I’m not going to change the logic of this, but no harm in trying?

Me, I’ve got 1 more bank holiday before Christmas, but only because I will be in the US for Thanksgiving. That is definitely something I’m looking forward to. But first, now in under 3 weeks, that visit to Jean Harlow’s birthplace. Will her ghost be there to greet me? I doubt it, but you never know! 😉

The video, well maybe the boys, and girls of summer arent gone yet, but the UK bank holidays have

How much!

Seriously, I love most things American, especially the pretty much total acceptance that I am a woman over here, as opposed to the head bashing I occasionally do with some in my own country, plus the very odd idiot, as mentioned recently. I’ve no idea what the American equivalent of an anglophile is, but I’m one. Of course, if push came to shove re job interviews and things, would it still be the same? I’m inclined to think yes, if they think I’m a woman anyway, there is no chance of gender rejection, is there?

But the one thing I dont get, food portions! Seriously, I thought I was getting a meal for one, not a whole party! Fine, I know the British appetite is generally smaller anyway, and even by our standards, mine isnt large, but…I cant remember the last time I actually had 2 courses over here, other than when I cheated, and had a starter, and a dessert! Sunday, I got a large salad provided before the meal, but hey, the meal itself was as much as I would have wanted anyway, if not more! Last night, I didnt even get close with the Chinese meal, barely about halfway.

Regardless of cost, and to be honest, last night wasnt that expensive, its the waste that bugs me! The meal size might be fine if 1 of those American footballers turned up after a game, but an ordinary person like me, aargh! And fine, if some people do want that much, then consider a smaller portion option on the menu, for those of us who are never going to eat the ‘standard’ size meal. No, I know, things wont change, but no harm in asking.

The other moment of hilarity yesterday was looking at clothing at the shopping mall. Now you have to remember, much of my stuff is budget, charity shops, or markets. I do get some nice stuff that way, but hey, the price tag is nice, especially for us Yorkshire lasses with tight purses. But this mall was full of what I would term, nice shops, and were priced accordingly! I know, some people spend that much, or more in our country, but for me…Bring on Old Navy and the like over here lol!

Today should again be relatively quiet, I’m hoping at some point to get some writing done, which hopefully long term will boost the bank balance, or at least pay for the cover pic, and styling! Tomorrow Kate is planning to get me downtown to the Science Museum at least (about 15 miles), as she put it, by some means or other! No, I have no idea, as public transport around here is just awful, the first time I’ve found this in any largish American city I’ve visited. So no, I wont be moving here lol! Thursday is planned to go further afield, I’ve heard Washington mentioned as a possible, but lets wait and see. Again, no idea how we get there, but I’m sure Kate does.

The video, is in tribute to the food portions over here, though Michael Jackson might turn over in his grave at this. What can I say, Weird Al Yankovic is an acquired taste, but one I love

Its a long, long way

Well, its true, my flight home will certainly be that lol! And yes, its also the most used line in the song, Pandora’s Box as well, so the perfect climax to this weeks related blogs.

Yes, unless something surprising happens tomorrow morning, I’ve seen my last close up views of the city of Rochester, at least for a while, probably forever. A sad fact, as its a nice city, but there are a few more places I’m looking forward to seeing, plus, there isnt really enough ‘undone’ stuff here to warrant coming back, unless I get a good ‘live and work’ offer at least, and lets face it, thats not going to happen. Enough here though, that I never made it to Buffalo, thought there was more than enough here, and I was proved right.

Today, I ended up visiting the Museum of Play. Yes, I know, some might say I’m a bit old for that, given I dont have children, but I didnt feel I needed them. It might help, but…The ironic thing is seeing the amazing collection of dolls that they have there, literally through the ages. ironic of course, as thats one element of my life that I missed out on, because of things. For better, for worse, who can ever know? But yes, I felt a few pangs of regret when I saw all those dolls, I must admit.

It wasnt the only thing, one of the current displays there is for Sesame Street, which started over here at least in 1969. I remembered far too many of the exhibits, especially the musical ones from that year lol! The other thing was upstairs in the arcade section, more than a few pinball machines, which I always used to love playing. These ones in the museum are actually newer than the ones I would have played, just shows how long ago that was, doesnt it?

And then taking things to the opposite level, there was a Kinect golf game that you could play. Talk about new style gaming for someone like me. The camera makes the ‘person’ look a lot like me (skirt, not trousers, but otherwise…), and no buttons to push, or joysticks to twiddle, just the natural golf swing. I must say that version of me swings a far better golf club than I did in real life lol! But yes, it was great fun, even if my knees didnt possibly think so at the end of 9 holes!

And thats it! Next post will be back in England, sometime early next week. Thanks Rochester, its been a wonderful visit. Note to UK bus companies. The bus fare anywhere around Rochester for a single journey is $1. Yes, you saw it, $1! And it takes 20 minutes or so from here into town by bus, so its not short hop stuff. Guess what, the buses are busy, I cant think why lol!

The video, yes, its the pinball machines that win out

Here comes summer?

Seriously, just at the moment its hard to believe that spring started 3 days ago, and we go over to Britsh Summer Time a week from now! Anyone reading this over here in the UK probably knows the tale, a massive snow dump this weekend, judging by my efforts to walk in it this morning, about 8-12 inches in all, I would guess? Even more ironic given that this weekend last year, the temperature got up nearly to 70, and today it couldnt even reach freezing point at 32!

But something happened today that has never happened to me before, I set out for work, but never got there. Not my fault, but all the same, a hell of a culture shock given we are nearly at the end of March. Put it this way, I knew it was going to be hard work, I warned work accordingly before I even left here of that. I couldnt check on the internet to see if any buses were running (they werent) because the Metro website had crashed, through overuse!

Anyway, I walked the best part of a mile through deep snow, hoping that if I hit the main road, there might be some buses on there (no!) as that road would be clearer, but it was hard work to put it mildly. As stated, no, no bus came along. Just as I was pondering which option to take, to give up and go home, or walk into town, along came a lady in a taxi, and offered us a lift. So I got to town at least. Next, the railway station. Got there, train supposedly due just over 5 minutes later, running chronically late! Got on, had to stand, but hey, under the circumstances, lets just get to Leeds, and play it from there.

Thing is, train didnt leave, just sat in the station. About 20 minutes later they admit that there are points, and signal problems ahead, no idea if and when we might be leaving. About 10 minutes of this, and I give up, start to head for home, via a shop to let work know I’m not going to get there. Walk about 2 miles back home, in the snow, ploughing my way through. Hey, I think I know how a dog in the Iditarod feels now lol!

I have no idea if tomorrow is going to be any easier, but at least I now know how long it takes me to walk into town! Snag is, whether the replacement buses (yes, definitely no trains tomorrow, engineering work) will be able to get to Leeds anyway! Wait and see, I guess!

Oh, the video, yes, a piece of pure Stevie Lou cynicism here! Almost as old as me, and thats saying something!

4 weeks from now, I’m on holiday, fingers crossed for better weather by then!

What will be, will be

And if you havent worked out the music video already, well, frankly I’m disappointed in you lol! Yes, it should be that obvious I feel.

No, it didnt snow overnight, or not as I could see, anyway. What it did do, is snow this morning. No, we dont look like Vermont, or the Rockies, but for a while there, it was white. And given it snowed most of the morning, I gave up on going to Manchester at an early point, expecting the total breakdown of public transport to follow soon after, even if I had fancied wandering around Manchester in the snow, and hmm, maybe not? 😉 Funny thing is, it never really got nasty, the buses and trains kept running, and eventually, it even stopped snowing!

So, determined to at least get out, and get some fresh air, I ventured out into Huddersfield, if only to see if there were any interesting snippets left from the sales, as an aside to getting said fresh air. My main plan had been to have a look around Manchester first, and if nothing took my eye there, but, anyway, best laid plans and all that… Clearly all the best stuff was gone, apart from one top that I considered in BHS, I didnt see a thing that really grabbed me at all. Mind, I do need inspiring when I dont really have a major need, and it wasnt working. Then, last stop before home, Bon Marche. For me, they’re a bit like Peacocks and Dorothy Perkins, nicer than Primark, but that little bit more pricy too. Yes, I know, better quality, but I’m a Yorkshire girl, with small pockets lol! But they had a sale on too, and alright, I boosted their economy lol! 3 Nice tops, 1 pair of trousers, and a nightdress later, I was helping the local economy! Then, finally heading back for the bus, I spotted a new (to me at least) charity shop in a little precinct, and I found a long leather(ish?) skirt to my liking, at a silly price, as charity shops do. Oh, and I found the shoes to match the gold dress, long after the event. Proper heels too, but definitely not high ones. They fitted, so…No, I dont know why either, given I have no idea when I will be wearing a dress again, but I couldnt resist.

So now, before I even get to Manchester (tomorrow, if its not dangerously icy by then), I have even less needs lol! But yes, still going, I might find more in the larger size stores over there, plus my knees need that Aqua Massager even more after today! As the song says, Que sera, sera…lol!