it would be fair of you, dear reader, to ask "is he going to do a blog post about every single f*****g train ride he takes". in an effort to be fair to you in respect of your fair question, my only answer can be yes, and no. i have no idea. i just happened, for the benefit of my Dad who had a great interest in my travels today, to have a few pictures from today and thought i might as well bung them up here.
in an effort to keep my Dad as calm as David St Hubbins was when he was under such heavy sedation after Nigel Tufnel quit Spinal Tap, i decided it wise to head off as soon as possible this morning on an interesting quest. to that end, i was to head off on the Gautrain once again, then, as soon as i had dropped the boys off at school for the day.
William assisted, somewhat, by holding the package that i had to take on the train. this served a dual purpose, for it kept him busy and ensured that i did not forget it.
the boys were rather excited to learn that i was to embark on a journey of the rail once more, and were eager to come along with me. alas, what was required today was an in and out job. taking the boys along would have meant two or so hours at the Museum (twice, possibly, since theoretically that is how many times i would pass it) so there was no way they could go with me. just like that song by Whitesnake, or whoever it was, i had to go this one alone.
they were somewhat disappointed, but not too downbeat about it.
after dropping them off with minimal fuss, off i went then to a place that is no doubt becoming all too familiar to the regular readers of this blog, the local Gautrain station.
would you care, dear reader, for yet another picture of it? OK.
these are, by the way, all pictures i took off my blueberry thingie and sent to my Dad. i did so as a reassurance to him that i was on my way to do what he had requested of me. in certain mails and correspondence, i am delighted to report that he was even rather polite about it.
thanks to the marvels of cellular techonology and the internets, the correspondence continued throughout my journey. to that end, my Dad asked if i had by any chance got a window seat on the train. i replied with this image.
in the hope of convincing my Dad that i was actually in a window seat for the duration of the trip i took a number of other pictures and sent them to him. i would not dream of boring you with all of them, unless of course it turns out that the next few are all the ones i sent. sorry, i do not remember.
in trying to capture a landmark or two, i did manage to half get a look at the Centurion Cricket Ground, although it is more commonly referred to by the sponsors name. if only by the sponsor.
yeah, i was a bit slow with getting the blueberry ready to take a picture there. i ask you to accept my word, then, than the cricket ground is where them big massive floodlights are. big massive floodlights, i say? as opposed to small, miniature floodlights, perhaps?
moving right away from any nonsense about the best way to describe the size of floodlights, here's a look at Pretoria as the train pulls in, arrives or indeed just plain stops at the station there.
oh yes, that's not blueberry trickery there. the sun was really that bright just after 8 in the morning. a wonderful, glorious day it was today!
now, what with me being older, married, needing to keep the respect of society, a family man but in all honestly mostly because of the married thing, there are few stories i can tell from my student days. not that, of course, there are any stories. oh no, it was all well behaved, dedicated studying type stuff that went on. more or less.
one thing that i can speak of is my fond memories of going out for a night in Pretoria, in particular with my good mate Shaun. for me, to think of Pretoria is to think of pizza. there was this one place we used to go to, the name of which escapes me - which i am certain is down to the fizzy side effects of Coca Cola and similar drinks - where you paid a nominal fee and basically you had to threaten to stab the staff eventually to stop them bringing you pizza. Shaun, as i recall, was most impressed that i was impressed with this, and briefly - possibly in a bout of emotion brought on by some Pepsi - declared it to be the best thing ever in history.
it was with some reminiscing delight, then, that i saw Pretoria's love with pizza continues to this very day, for that can be the only reason this well known pizza place was open, armed and fully operational at about 8:30 on a Monday morning.
after admiring Pretoria's love of pizza for more or less the duration of a cigarette, off i walked to my place of business in this fine, fine city. i did not take any pictures along the way, as there really was not all that much to see. the independent variety of street vendors were sparse to say the least. not one person tried to sell me a DVD of a film that was on at the cinema at the moment, to give you a clue as to how few people were open for business.
anyway, i arrived at where i needed to be. i seem to recall that the last time i presented you with a rather blurred image of it. here, for the sake of making amends, is a slightly less blurred picture.
what was i doing there that, at the suggestion of my Dad, had me there so early on a morning? to give you it in two words, well, one word would be red and the other would be tape. yeah, officialdom. to expand, basically it was all about proving that one had not done something in the last 6 (six) months that would have been entirely impossible to have done in the last 11 (eleven - ha! another Nigel Tufnel reference) months.
never mind, all done now, quick and painless to be honest. back off to the station with me it was to be, then. on my return journey i did notice a chap selling some rather nice belts, but still no one offered me a copy of Man Of Steel or whatever else is on at the cinema presently. hey ho, perhaps the market for independent, digitally demastered discs has dried up.
yes, if you are wondering, yes indeed the McDonalds is still there, right by Pretoria station.
i did not frequent the premises, though. getting done what i needed to do in Pretoria was a mere half, oddly the cheapest half if you ask, of my task for the day.
off i went back into the Pretoria station, then, an image of where i walked through you are most certainly welcome to look at in the below picture. except it does not show me walking in as i was taking the picture. and my Dad took the time, trouble and imagination to send a message to his educated, 40 year old son warning of the dangers of handing your phone to random people in Pretoria in the hope that they would take a smart picture of you walking through a door and hand it back to you.
nope, i have no idea what that lady is reading. some dudes were handing out tax forms and that, like, so it might have been something to do with that. on that note, always remember, dear reader, that cash is tax free.
moving right along from that, after allowing you to think about it of course, and here is a picture of a train that no one was allowed to get on.
the operators of the Gautrain, you see, have a very funny idea of what does and does not constitute as peak travel times. they have some random, if not arbitrary, times where they run the trains with eight carriages, whereas at all other times it is four. in my experience, and from what i have heard, mostly the really early trains that only have four are packed to the brim and leave standing room only, whereas their "peak" time sees trains with eight carriages carrying a good deal fewer people. they may wish to review the times that people go to work, then. as a general rule, most people start work no later than 8am, which makes it somewhat baffling as to why they would only start the "double length" train for commuters at 8am.
the point is that the above shows an entirely empty 8 carriage train pulling in and pulling out, swapping over to the rather full 4 carriage one i took.
i got a trifle bored as i waited for the train that the Gautrain people said we were allowed to get on, so i took a picture of my pants and boots for you.
yes, i went for that cowboy look thing of mine. i thought the people of Pretoria, or at least those not indulging in a wild life of opulent pizza consumption, might quite like to see it. no one made any comment, so i am guessing if not presuming there was a stunned silence of acceptance thing going on.
behold, the train that we were allowed to get on turned up! and promptly stopped right at the other end of the platform.
a mostly uneventful journey, really, with far too many people on the train for me to be messing about taking pictures. you may recall that in my first post on the subject of the train to Pretoria i noted that not many did "train things" that are common in the rest of the world - no iTwats, laptops or things like that. a bit different this time, as there was indeed a fair amount of iTwattery. a big hats off in particular to the one chap that had a huge, massive 80s style laptop bag. he tried to open it up in a pretty packed train and dabble with something or other. probably that Angry Birds thing. i still don't quite get why a variety of birds would wish to wage war against the humble pigs of this earth, but it is a fun game.
anyway, the train did its thing, and soon we were at what is, for want of a better term, my home station. if you want to see what it looks like as you walk out of it, then this picture exists for you.
ah, yes. now then, the language and tone might get rather offensive around about now, so you have been warned. take cover if you think you may pass out at reading such things.
the roads of the world tend to be populated by all sorts of spectacular, what's the right term for them, oh yes, dickheads. they seem to exist to, and serve only the purpose of, annoying every other driver on the road unfortunate enough to be near them. this i experienced as i tried to do the presumed to be simple thing of leaving the car park at the train station.
what you are seeing in the above, other than my dirty car and the stylish editing job on number plates, are the two exits to the car park being blocked by people who did not pay quite enough attention in school to be able to go out into the world and master the mystery of the concept of a f*****g parking ticket machine. nice one, cheers for that.
what makes the above mildly amusing is that the one blocking the right hand side one had spent a couple of minutes hooting and shouting at the one on the right for blocking that particular exit. glass houses, who casts the first stone, etc.
never mind, i am sure whoever it is that dresses both drivers every morning, and indeed mops their foreheads for them when they have an ice cream, came along and made it all nice nice. in the mean time, the cars were moved to allow those of us who did listen enough in school to work out how parking ticket machines work to carry on with it.
an incredibly boring part of my adventure of the day today was what i did with the documents that i took to and from Pretoria. so let us skip that part out. after i had finished with all of that, off i went to a nearby music store.
i rather hoped to hand them over a tidy sum of cash in exchange for either the new Beady Eye album, titled by the creative genius that is Liam as BE, or Primal Scream's new album, More Light. what an expensive but happy bonus it would have been if they had both. alas, they had neither. it's really rather annoying that i have yet to hear either of them thus far.
ho hum, off i went then for a lovely breakfast, and of course a smart cup of coffee.
i have reason to suspect that the two clowns who blocked the parking section off were in Wimpy at the same time as me. the two miserable bastards sat near me seemed to fit the bill. for some reason they appeared to believe they could take over the smoking section to set up an office, requesting or rather demanding that the fine, melodic sounds of Bryan Adams be turned off and that they be granted access to the restaurants' internets network on the basis of them ordering two rather small, somewhat homoerotic sounding cups of tea. they were quite rude and had an awful attitude. even the distance to the bathroom seemed to be troublesome for them. on that note, they appeared to engage in a bizarre "tag team" approach to going to the distant bathroom for all the time they were there.
full credit to the staff of the restaurant for not losing their temper with these obnoxious twats. if it had been me, after a couple of moments i would have told the pair of them where to get off, suggesting that they p!ss off to somewhere that they actually like and drink their gayboy tea there. big thumbs up for their response to the rude and impolite demands to turn the music off - as in the response to the "requests" meant that i ended up hearing Bryan Adams a good deal louder than i ever have before in my lifetime. i hope never again to hear him that loud, as it happens.
leaving that aside, a final picture, and something of a controversial one. my friend Jonathan thinks i have nothing better to do than to have arranged the discs below myself for the purpose of this picture. i assure you, dear reader, the image was taken as i found them.
i tried another music store in the wild hope of finding either the new Beady Eye or Primal Scream albums. i was disappointed but not surprised to find that they did not have either. if my tastes stretched as far as wanting to own a large amount of Phil Collins, however, i would have been well sorted.
i do not have the strong, exceptionally violent and quite possibly illegal dislike of Mr Collins as my friend Jonathan does, but i do not want to own either of the CDs on display here, thanks. i am sure both discs contain one or two decent songs, even if by a pure fluke of an accident, but Phil Collins is hardly a replacement or acceptable substitute for either Beady Eye or Primal Scream, is he? he is, after all, one of the few musicians in the world never to have been married to Patsy Kensit, and you can't really see him surviving even the quietest of nights that Bobby Gillespie could think of. which, mindful of what happened when some genius decided to invite Primal Scream along on tour with Depeche Mode so that they could have a "calming influence" on Dave Gahan (that ended with heroin, tattoos, overdoses and suspected suicide attempts), will no doubt soon see Jonathan making representatives to the management of Mr Collins along the lines of "i am a sad little boy with a really serious terminal illness. please could you make my dream happen of Phil going on tour with Primal Scream before i die". Primal Scream live in a world where there is no such thing as too many drummers, so you never know, that might all happen.
anyway, that covers a significant amount of my day today, except for the bits that i sat and waited for the Heaton Park videos to upload. as usual i am unsure as to who any of this will be of interest to, but if it was to you, outstanding!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!