Yesterday was an interesting day, in so many ways. Due to the less than stellar state of public transport, early morning, on a Saturday, my options for getting to work for 9.00 were a bit limited.
The dull, safe bet was to leave here about 7.00, get the 7.30 bus from town, and get to work by about 8.30. Fine, except that I would have had to be up by about 5.45 at the latest, and then sit at work waiting for 9.00 to come round.
What was the other option, I hear you ask? To do something I havent done since August, take a train! It meant I could leave here about 20 minutes later, take a train to Bradford, and get to work (hopefully) about 10 minutes before starting time, ideal for setting up. Yes, attempted the latter!
I got to the station, train on time the indicator board said, great! Only snag was, I got to the Platform, no train! About 2 minutes before it was due to leave (7.50), they announce the train at Platform 6 is there, and we can board, but as you can guess, still no train! A Guard with a silly grin on his face stood on the platform, telling us it would be there very soon, but…
At 7.58, still no train, so I walked outside the station, got the 8.00 bus to Bradford, and got to work with about a minute to spare. Yes, the bus was busy, as companies still seem to think no one works on a Saturday, not true any more! So yes, what is normally a 6 bus an hour service, 2 isnt enough! I know, they wont learn, but…! No, I didnt see the famous station cat either!
As opposed to William Hill, when Saturday was by far the busiest day, in my new job, just the opposite, not many calls. Fine, most solicitors arent working, and only so many other people realize we’re open, so its mainly a day for doing admin, it seems. Fine by me, but…
With about 10 minutes to go to going home time, I got a call! I know, shock horror, in a call center, but besides all that…it was a lovely old lady, but she didnt want to give me details. For legal logistics, we arent allowed to give her more than limited details, non executor, for those who understand the term, so I couldnt go into the account. So I answered her questions as best I could, very generically, but yes, I did my job. At the end, she told me I’d eased her mind about things, and that for me was the main thing.
The funny thing, I was still on the call at the time we could go home, but what could I do? Thankfully, a few moments later, we were done, and I actually got out only about 5 minutes late. Then things picked up, I still just about got to the bus station in time for the 4.10 (no idea how?), just about got out of Huddersfield before the football crowd came out, and actually got home in about an hour and a quarter, definitely a PB! After the morning trip, amazing!
But yes, the main thing, easing someone’s worries, and making her feel better about events. Now that was the important thing!
The video, a bit of Yazoo. Though for many Brit’s, the Flying Pickets version is probably better known! Ah well…
One of the hazards of being a non driver, is that you’re vulnerable to the whims of public transport, and the awful service they provide far too often. I’ll stand up and say that this rant isnt helped by the fact that First buses are putting up their fares around here on Sunday, despite the fact that the service they provide has deteriorated badly over the last few weeks. The number of cancelled buses on the routes up towards here, and Almondbury of late, just disgraceful. And then to rub it in by putting up their prices too…
Yesterday afternoon was a fine example of just how awful their service is. Having got out of work 30 minutes earlier than normal, it would be fair to assume that I would get home 30 minutes earlier than normal too, right? Wrong, I actually got in 10 minutes later than normal, despite the earlier start!
It started badly when I arrived at the Bradford bus station at 4.15, to find the 4.15 bus was already gone. Fine, if I’d seen it pulling out or something, then OK, but no, this was ‘gone’! No problem, another bus due in 10 minutes, so I’ll get that. Well, I might have done, but basically the screen counted down the minutes from 10, to showing as due, but the bus never showed. Finally about 4.30, after 5 minutes of showing as due, it disappeared off the screen, like the bus, never to be seen again!
The 4.35 eventually turned up about 4.33, but given there was 2 sets of customers waiting to get on the bus, we finally pulled out at 4.40, pretty full. So therefore we crawled all the way to Huddersfield, picking up, and dropping off passengers until we got to Huddersfield about 9 minutes late. I know, you’re thinking thats not too bad, but its meant to have a lay over of a few minutes in Brighouse, which never happened, which counteracted the delay somewhat.
But anyway, it gets better! I walked around the corner to get a bus up to where I live, to find the 5.24 was due anytime (only about 10 minutes late), and that the 5.34, 5.44 and 6.04 were all cancelled. The 5.54 was running, but at that point was running a mere 18 minutes late! Oh, the 5.24 never appeared either! On top of that, the 5.39, and 5.49 to Almondbury were also cancelled!
In the end, I walked part of the way home, using a bus (that I had to pay a fare for, as its a different company) to get me up the hill, but that was full, and I needed to stand, because First are so useless!
Seriously, I couldnt recommend First buses to anyone, especially the Huddersfield service, though I gather the service in Leeds is equally bad. And they want to increase the fares, but I doubt it will improve the service.
OK, in their defence, today, everything worked perfectly coming home, and because the 4.24 was running about 8 minutes late, I actually got home early! The bus I should have caught, running 7 minutes late!
I know, I know, but I’m 58, have tried driving lessons 3 times when I was much younger, failed miserably, so its never going to work now!
Fine, rant over!
The video, sums up the difference between yesterday, and today, I guess?
Yes, fine, I think if I tossed a coin at present, called both heads, and tails, it would wedge on the side of the coin. As in, any decision I settle on at present seems to be the wrong one! yes, thats right, I’m sat at home, typing this up, feeling that I made the wrong call yet again. Ah well…
Lets go back to last week, when I got offered a not very exciting job, for about 5 weeks, guaranteed, or I could take a gamble, wait to see if I got on the clinical research trial, and earn more money, in less time, and have way more fun. Thats right, I took the boring percentage option, and got it wrong, big time.
I had low expectations of the job, and I’ll be honest, I havent been proved wrong on that fact yet. Its fair to say I know how the poor men in the trenches in WW1 felt to some degree, we were pretty much employed just to be shot down, and save other faces the hassle. Oh, and the Capita fascination with trying to achieve ridiculous targets still happens too. I’d heard about this issue from people in the tele-betting dept in Rotherham, where morale was low, or worse. This week I’ve experienced it, and its not good. As in, my rest time is far superior to any of the other ‘infantry’ but they still want me to improve on it. So my write up time is on average, 2 minutes better than anyone else, but the challenge isnt to stay that way, its to make it even shorter. Oh, and their attitude to Customer Service seems to be to keep the calls short, however that affects the service to customers. Fine, thankfully 3.5 weeks to survive, thats all.
Oh, and the other issue, yes, you’re right, I did get selected for the trial, so at this moment in time, I could be doing something interesting, something new, and happy. Whereas now…Yes, I made the wrong call, again. Ironically, if I’d seen a message from the clinic earlier on Wednesday, I might still have had the option to do it, but by the time I saw it, and called them, they’d called up the reserve. Fine, I’ll do one in the New Year (my contact there tells me there will be some interesting things happening in February), for definite. But now…
And oh, that fact isnt helped by the decision of the Bus Drivers of Huddersfield to go on a 1 day strike on Monday. So guess what, on top of everything else, I’ll have to get up early, and walk a mile and a half into town, oh joy! And to think, I could be safe, in a nice warm clinic, instead of walking into town, in the rain (according to forecast), what fun!
So yes, I wouldnt describe my mood as sunny at present.
Oh, lastly, a moment of silliness. Given I will be on my own over Christmas (the others go down south before I finish work on 23rd), I jokingly took a look at flights to LA, leaving on the 24th. No, I cant do it, cant really afford it, but wondered just what the premium was for flying that day. There was one, but not as much as I was expecting, to be honest. Utterly impractical, as by the time I got there, all shops would be shut, so I’d be going hungry over the Christmas holidays, not really on. Oh, and seemingly my lovely apartment isnt rented out between November, and April anyway.
So, all in all…I did contemplate a certain Britney Spears video as apt, but preferred the irony, and class, of this instead. Lou Reed, live, take that, and party!
During the 8 months or so of job hunting, I’ve had a couple of “fun” moments with Trans Pennine Express, but thankfully not very often, and nothing catastrophic. Of course, for part of that time, (nearly a quarter) I havent concerned myself with their incompetences, because I havent been in the country. But then, this weekend, when attempting to get between here, and Leeds, I’ve been reminded how awful they really are.
It might be harsh blaming them for a couple of events this week, but in the end with a bit of diligence, and an effort to make things easier for passengers, they could have done more. But TPE, and doing things efficiently arent terms that go together.
Earlier this week (Thursday), I struck lucky. I managed to get the last train they managed to run through from Manchester for several hours, due to problems with a rail. Yes, it was a few minutes late, but all was fine, I had allowed enough time, got there fine. And the tailback hadnt occurred going the other way when I was coming back (agency registration), so I got back before their whole system collapsed. And it did!
Yesterday morning, I planned to get the 8.21 train to Leeds, for the start of the training session. I actually got the 8.13, which finally turned up at 8.27! So despite getting an earlier train than planned, I was running pretty close to being late! In fact, strictly, I was, because no one had told us how to get into the building, so it was only when someone else came along, that 3 of us got in.
We finished the course for the day about 4.00, and I headed back for the station. Remarkably, the 4.20 arrived more or less on time, and did leave on time. It then crawled slowly to Huddersfield (no other train in way, previous one was over 10 minutes before), arriving about 6 minutes late.
Then, today! I got to the station just before 9.00, the 9.18 train (first of day) was showing on time. Remarkable for a Sunday, and yes, you’re right, they didnt live up to claim. It got later, and later, finally turning up at 9.25. Got on, got a seat, only to hear that we were going to be slightly delayed by a signalling problem. Fine, I had about 10 minutes margin, so with luck…
It never left Huddersfield, well, not in the direction of Leeds, anyway. At 10.00, it was announced that the train had been cancelled, and they would be attempting to arrange some coaches, to get people to Leeds. Thing is, there were about 250-300 people on that train, another one had pulled in with similar numbers, and coaches can hold 40-50 people. Not good maths, and besides, its 50 minutes to Leeds by coach when it does arrive, not the 20 by train. So I gave up, and came home. When I got here, I found out they “hoped” to have replacement coaches running by about 11.30. When they did start running, no idea, as they never made the live running list.
I rang the company when I got home, and explained the situation. Whether they believed me or not, no idea! Got to go in, in the morning, so we will see. I dont know how much, or what training was done today that I’d have to catch up on, but we will see. So I might yet get to be a clinical research guinea pig after all! Fine, I’d prefer that, assuming I’m selected, but, its not the point!
And yes, as I say, indirectly, today’s problems dont really lay at the hands of TPE. As it was the first train of the morning on the line, it may be that it was only when they tried to set them, to let us go, that they found out. But at the same time, they have a reputation for being one of the worst companies for over crowding, for delayed trains, and pricey fares! So all in all…Yes, I’d discreetly forgotten how awful they are, until the last few days.
Hopefully, in the morning, the 7.55 train will have 6 coaches, will run on time, and my evening journey will be smooth too. Oh, and pigs fly!
The video, what I did this morning, about the most incompetent train company I’ve had the misfortune to know.
Alright, fine, its getting towards the sad end of the break, the last few days. How do I know that? Well, for the first time in a few weeks, I had to really think about what I needed from the supermarket up the hill, and not get more than I really need. Most things I’ve managed to work fairly well, though the peanut butter is going to run out 1 day early, and I wont quite use up all the sugar, or the last part of the loaf bought today, but done pretty well. I’m planning a nice last lunch out in Hollywood for Tuesday, instead of cooking for myself, mind. Why lunch? Simple, I will need to pack as much as possible on Tuesday evening (being picked up at 7.45 am Wednesday), and besides which, just after 5 pm, the 1 game of the World Series I will get to see live. Game 2, I will be in mid flight, and the rest will happen in the middle of the night, UK time. Only wish I could see more, but unless someone is crazy enough to give $2,000 dollars to me in the next day or so, not going to happen. But seeing Kansas City get this far, has been pretty special, all the same.
The other reason I know its the end? I’ve started doing the trips I was leaving until now, to say goodbye to a few places, and “friends”. The first of those happened at the end of last week, the return to Pacific Palisades. Its funny, when I went there in April, it was by sheer accident, this time it was deliberate. Its a lovely little place, which as the name suggests, sits very close to the Pacific Ocean. So after lunch, and a last look around the community, I headed down the canyon towards the Pacific Ocean. I walked down the beach, to the ocean, and said my goodbyes. I mean, I will see it again, when we take off from the airport on Wednesday, and its quite possible I will see it again, in San Francisco, or Seattle, but from here, in lovely LA, by the water, that was it, almost certainly forever! As far as I can see, thats it, though 1 Facebook friend tells me I will return, in 6 months, but I cant see it myself.
Alright, after that. the journey back here. It should be just over an hour (70 mins or so) to Hollywood from there, but…it took 2 and a half hours! I assume there was an incident on the freeway, but we crawled, or simply sat still until we reached back to the junction with the 405 freeway. I did hear a couple of sirens, so I assume it was that. Let me just say at this point, that the bus seats on the Metro buses win no prizes for comfort, or design. So my back stiffened up beautifully, and getting home from town was fun. As was clambering into the bed that night! Better by next morning, but that evening…ouch!
Yesterday evening, I had the chance to go somewhere different, The Magic Castle. To go in there, you either have to be a member, or a guest of a member, and I was fortunate enough to be the latter. OK, as with so much travel this trip, things didnt go smoothly. The taxi was fine, and then we hit a traffic jam on Franklin Avenue. So he went down to Hollywood Boulevard to avoid it, just as bad. So down to Sunset Boulevard, then all the way up to my destination, but it meant a $12 taxi fare ended up at $18! Oh, and of course, my friend got stuck in the same jam, but texted me what to do on arrival, and all was fine.
The evening itself was wonderful, I had wonderful company (thanks Eden, and Phylis), and was wonderfully entertained by both them, and a string of magicians. One especially took my heart (though not in that sense, I think?), but they were all great. Phylis ran me home afterwards, and I got in about 1.15 am, a time I have no idea when I last saw before bed! Oh, and this morning was the latest I’ve got up in my stay, about 8.15! No surprise, I guess? Still, Wednesday (when I guess I’m going to have to be up by 6, or soon after) is going to come as a culture shock!
Right, 2 full days, and 2 special trips to do. Tomorrow is off to Glendale, and Forest Lawns by bus, to say my final farewell to Jean Harlow. Yes, I know, she’s not going to answer me or anything (unless her “ghost” turns up, who is seemingly very chatty, then all bets would be off!) but its something I really want to do, just spend some time with her, one last time. Hopefully its as easy to get close as it was in April.
Then Tuesday, one last farewell trip to the delight that is Hollywood Boulevard. A little bit of souvenir shopping, a nice lunch (which I wish could be Musso & Frank, but I really cant afford it. Silly, its only because I included it in a story, but…), and then say farewell again, at Jean’s star on the strip, and to her’s, and a couple of other people’s hands, and footprints at the Chinese Theatre. Then 1 last nice ice cream at Hollywood & Highland centre, then with, I’m sure a few tears, say goodbye to Hollywood for the last time, as I head back here, to pack, and watch baseball!
Then, Wednesday morning, the long trek home. At least I will see that wonderful Hollywood sign, one last time, as the shuttle pulls out on to Beachwood before I leave.
I have got a few possible jobs to follow up on, from before I left, and I’ve applied for a couple more in the last few days, telling the people concerned that I wont be back before the 29th! Hopefully they noticed!
I’m sure there will be one last posting from LA, assuming Tuesday doesnt prove more problematical than expected, packing wise, and the like. So, if I dont…
Right, lastly, the video. Lets go back to last night for that.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.