Saturday, April 12, 2014

the actual return of the train adventure

hi there

oh yes indeed my eye is hurting somewhat still, and indeed i am somewhat tired, but let us see how this goes. a lot of people seem very excited about the return of the train adventure to this blog, so who am i to allow an eye infection or fatigue to stand in the way of presenting one?

that said, i seem to have taken and uploaded a far too large amount of pictures, so apologies up front and in your face right now if this gets dull and goes off course! for those of you who somehow found your way to this post but did not read the preview for it, might i be so bold as to suggest  you click here, or here click if you are Yoda, to read that to get a general feel.

after establishing times and distances, allowing for stopping to have speaks and taking pictures (see preview), today was the day to head off on an actual train adventure, not just a mere simulation of one. i progressed rather well, feeling somewhat less dizzy, and was able to take some "look at the strange angle at which i held the camera" pictures. such as this first one.

yeah, that's sort of like the slant at which the film the baddies in that Batman TV series, isn't it? the one where they covered up violence with words like "bonk" and "bang", quite sensibly so i believe.

i appreciate that i am fortunate enough to live in a beautiful part of the world as much as i appreciate that some of you for some reason prefer images of this beauty without either a class angle to the image or my presence being an integral part of it. for those of you out there reading, i am then delighted to present this image of the road and indeed path (and trees and things) which laid ahead of me as i went to the train station.

for some reason i suspect a number of you also really, really like images of railway stuff, such as signs and information and that. well, then, how about one of them electronic, or if you wish elektroniky, signs that gives one information? yes, even at a rural station.

it is interesting, i think - or maybe not - that the text on display distorts when one takes a picture quite like as happened with signs at the various Gautrain stations i took one or two pictures of for the benefit of posts last year. proably something to do with lighting or shutter speed, that.

i cannot imagine what sort of life you lead, but there are possibly one or two of you who quite liked the above image, but would quite like it even more if there was the suggestion of my presence in the picture, along with the rays (or whatever) off of the sun obscuring the elements of detail of the sign.

as luck would have it, and i did warn of some rambling in this blog post so don't moan, i have just the picture to meet that particular kind of thinking.

as it happens i arrived at the train station well far in advance of the time that i calculated i would. but you might have clocked that from the impressive number of pictures of the platform. i would not say that my timing today was totally wrong from my exercise the day before; just a bit radically off. mostly because i did not start it from where i timed it, i would agree, but also because i did not stop for any full conversations; passing pleasantries was all.

whilst i was at the station, right, my phone rang. if i worked it out right, and my one ear is no better than my one eye, but that might be because i have not put that olive oil stuff in it, it was a chap from Newcastle who was now in Leeds calling me, which was nice. we had a chat, he said he would call again, but has not done so thus far. perhaps next week.

pictures of train tracks are always awesome, aren't they? i mean, there's all that depth and perspective and that, with a class "vanishing point". not the film, or smart album off of Primal Scream, called Vanishing Point, but the same term in an artistic setting. i am pretty sure it is the artistic way of describing the point at which something vanishes on a painting or picture, quite possibly horizon-related, but you are better off looking it up on the google for an accurate answer.

i think thought this next picture answers any questions you have about vanishing points.

that bit in the picture, right, where you can no longer see the train tracks, is the "vanishing point". i think.

in regards of other things that reflect a sad, lonely, sheltered, pathetic and empty life that is somewhat resigned to acceptance of the mundane, alas no, as of yet i have not received back my "i spotted jimmy hill" pencil off of the Viz. the whole thing is conducted on a strictly second class affair postage wise; further it is all entirely at the mercy of the Viz as to when they decide they can be bothered to send one to me, if at all. i hope so, since i sent them the stamp and everything.

anyhow, enough of that. the train came along, within seconds of the time that it was supposed to dock, or whatever it is trains do (probably not 'land' as such), and off i went. and yes indeed i did get a picture or two fo me on the train, watching the world go by as i went past it, or elements of it. not all of it, of course. but a worldwide train ride would be pretty amazing, man.

it's just as well, really, that the Post Office here, as well as delivering mail and doing the job they are paid to do (SA Post Office, pay attention), value and pride themselves on discretion, privacy, confidentiality and respect. had they felt obliged to ask me what exactly i wanted a number of second class stamps for, honesty would have pressed me to tell them of my ambition to get an "i spotted jimmy hill" pencil off of the Viz. perfectly legal, of course, but the Post Office would have been well within their right to ask if next i intended to sit on a park bench, drinking meths or brass polish. it would, under the circumstances, been a fair and not unreasonable question, i suppose. pathetic, but i really do want the pencil.

i am hesitant and somewhat wary of taking wild amounts of pictures here, i must say. one hears all sorts of stories about privacy and sensitivity to such things. matters that are fair enough, really, as i would not wish to invade privacy in any sort of deliberate, direct or intended way. i suspect i am being over sensitive in this regard, but one so does wish to avoid conflict.

that said, i did get some further pictures on the train ride. like, for instance, this one of the famous, celebrated and well known Marton station.

no, i have no idea where exactly in Marton this train station is. i mean, it must be there, but for all my years in and around Marton, i have no idea where exactly one would be if they got off at this station and went for a walk around. if someone stopped me in the street and said "you, boy - you have spent many a formulative year in Marton, your knowledge shall suffice. direct me to Marton station at once, boy, and be quick as you do so", i would probably have to fall to my knees, have a bit of a "moment", break down in tears, cry of how i don't know and expect a beating as a consequence of my failure.

maybe it's down by them tennis courts, or that park. i don't know. if you are all that bothered then get a map or google it or something.

for those of you who like their stations a little less Marton and a bit more Police, well then here's a picture that will please you a very great deal indeed. i trust.

should the pencil arrive, and i would not blame the Viz if they just instead wrote back and said "you are a sad and pathetic w@nker, never contact us again", will i actually use it, or will i put it away as if it were some treasure of valuable antique? this is the question i must wrestle with for at least the weekend. quite possibly days, if not weeks, depending on just when the Viz decide to act.

to state the obvious, these pictures have of course been taken after i got off the train and went about my business; indeed business i am not prone to discuss at this stage. my business certainly did not involve this next establishment directly, but due to the expressed vested interest of a number of people i felt an obligation to take a picture of it to show off here.

ladies and gentlemen, Club Bongo International, more frequently known as The Bongo Club.

i have this one friend, and please note i did not explicitly or openly name Payney here, that frequently gets a bee in his bonnet about The Bongo Club. He sort of works himself up to a point of anticipation about going at a random date he has selected, right, and does all sorts of rituals around it. in the days leading up to the date he has selected, he will do things like light candles at certain times of the day, evoke passages from texts that he believes he should keep in mind as he attends and deploy his deft skill with cubist and impressionist art to construct complex pictures of how amazing he believes it will all be. inevitably, after the date has passed and he has been, he will only discuss his experience and time at the place with the phrase "i do not want to talk about it".

Spiros is very excited about one day attending Club Bongo International. the name alone appears to have tickled him pink, and the exciting times that another friend - again, please note i didn't mention Payney in this regard - might well have there just fuels his enthusiasm. Grantham, or Tooting, Or Kent, or wherever it is that he roams about looking for new pants these days, does not have a place that sounds as enticing or impressive, apparently. he is also rather keen for a couple of people to come with him, assuming they get their passports and visas sorted out in good time.

on, or in, Spiros and his world, regular readers of this blog will be aware of his plight and torment in respect of trying to get his hair cut in such a way that his lifestyle is affirmed by it. quite sensitive about it, is Spiros. it is quite plausible that he will, when coming to have a go at this Club Bongo International business, go to the Turkish hairdressed previously highlighted here. however, it would be mean and unfair of me not to show him this other option.

will i be going here for a haircut? only so far as to give Spiros the emotional and moral support he craves, really. i, as you are only all too well aware from the images of me, am not at all bothered about how my hair looks, really. clean is my benchmark for my hair requirements.

did i conduct that business in town that i went there on the train for? yes i did, thanks. and a good deal more that i did not particularly intend to, but more on that a bit later on. after that, i left. so here is an ill-thought out, badly executed and not even bothered to be "framed" or considered picture of the way towards the train station for you.

my apologies about the above one. my further apologies for the rather excessive level of images featuring me coming up. if you have not scrolled down for a sneak peak, well, if you don't want to see me stop reading now, i guess.

on the basis that i have not seen or heard the terms of late, i assume it is unfashionable and maybe all that politically incorrect stuff to speak of "first world" and "third world" these days. i think you are supposed to speak of "western world" and "developing countries and emerging nations", which is all rather too patronizing for my tastes. just so we are clear up front on that.

the difference between the first and third world on this earth can very much be seen in my differing train adventures. unless it is a case of thinking too much, and then of course it can't.

when the Gautrain hit, it was the most amazing thing ever. so what that it did not stop at or go to anywhere practical for the majority of commuters - it served the purpose of enough to ensure full trains at peak hours, and was very, very handy indeed for a number of requirements i had. it was reliable, affordable and pleasant. best of all, it made it possible to get to the airport on time without setting of the day before your actual flight; so notorious is the highway to it for being blocked by accidents and random strike action.

and yet the train i rode on today was pretty much, in look and appearance here in the first world, the same thing. but here it is not seen as a wonder. it's an alternative mode of transport, sure, but one that people don't seem all that keen on. i assume the lack of interest in the train is why there is a token gesture of three (3) a day, as opposed to the majestic one every twenty minutes thing that was on offer with the Gautrain.

the times that it does run here, at least to my little corner of the world, seem to have been selected at random. they are not times that would suit one for commuting to or from work, they would not be of use to someone wishing to go to town to watch a film or a match, and nor would they be of use to one who was in the town for a bite to eat. just weird times.

yes, even allowing for the fact that i am not at all good to look at, this picture is pretty bloody bad, isn't it? i think i upped it to see if it still looked bad. it does.

anyway, at the risk of going all Guevara or, perhaps, better, that twat thing Sean Penn does where he goes around the world and looks all sympathetic towards plight, it is quite depressing to see perfectly good, reliable and most importantly safe public transport being discarded and, to an extreme extent, made a mockery of. it's like here people want rid of it, despite a large number of people wishing for it, needing it and relying on it.

at the risk of being preachy, try a land with no safe, reliable or well organized public transport. when my car broke and went to the car menders i was in a situation where i had no option for safe public transport. and i lived in a major suburb. it was take enforced leave or hire a car. for those of you who say "well then don't break your car", well, a fair point, but that lacks an appreciation of my sensational driving style and the daily troubles of trying to drive reasonably legally in and around Johannesburg.

here it is quite class that they can discuss, plan and eventually build things like this HS2 business (there i said it), but a shame they are allowing the existing forms of public transport to drift away. it makes little sense to me, dear reader, that they cut down public transport on less frequently used routes to times at which it means even less people can use it on a practical level.

i have no idea where to direct this sort of protest, plight or complaint to. perhaps the press, but i seem to use all my stamps as a way of soliciting pencils off of the Viz at the moment. quite the first world problem, i am sure you might agree with if only because you cannot think of any particular reason why it would be worth the effort to disagree.

but the train is cheaper, cleaner and faster than the bus, right, and runs even less than the buses do. why the hell is no one using this instead and why on earth has the service been cut down so much.

anyway, Gypsy Lane station. a few of you may have found this post, and indeed me, by accident and have nothing but fond memories of this.

often, in my younger days (as opposed to my future ones, but you never know), i caught the train from here to town to purchase the latest vibes off of the HMV shop. Norman used to come with me sometimes, usually to buy different vibes. more metal ones, him, where i was more a classic rock or teenybop pop type of buyer. when i didn't get the train, i took the bus. oh, the joy of choice.

a station that i do not believe i ever used, but passed frequently, was Nunthorpe. i had a request from someone, let us call him Jonathan for that is his given name, for pictures in particular of Nunthorpe, so i did my best. i was, alas, on the wrong side of the train to take pictures of what i imagine he wished for me to take images of, but i gave it a go.

sorry if it did not work out as hoped.

i did, however, get a magnificent picture of the station box thing, or whatever it is called, at Nunthorpe station. it is excellent that they do not sell tickets at Nunthorpe station, but they do all the same have a station box thing. probably because the train tracks cross the car road thing there. so someone has to stop the traffic, what, three times a day. six if we assume there is always a return journey.

still, i recall this station box fondly. in the wild days of a healthy lunch of half a loaf of bread and some crisps, me and my intrepid chums discovered, by accident, that for a while in the 80s, none other than The King, Elvis Presley, based himself and no doubt his secret operations from this box. so look at this with the respect and admiration as if it were the promised land of Graceland itself, for it sort of is.

yes it is. just like Air Force One is not an actual plane, but any plane that the President of that country which name escapes me for the moment (United something) is on, so any building that The King, Elvis Presley resides in becomes Graceland, and thus He is governed by the laws of Graceland and not those of the surrounding area. so if he were displeased with something, He could dismiss it in any manner he saw fit, even if it was considered illegal, perhaps immoral, outside of the state of Graceland.

a vision of beauty and all things lovely from the window on the train? sure.

and then the train got to my station. so as i was bound to do, by the terms and conditions of the contract i had de facto entered into by purchasing the ticket, i got off. also it was handy to get off at my station as this meant that i could get home OK.

but yes, of course a picture of the train departing for you.

and so it was time to walk back home from the station. a time that one did not have to measure time, for it no longer mattered if google were correct or incorrect about how long such a walk would take. my home runs at a different, more agreeable timetable than that of the trains, thanks.

here is a picture of me probably thinking about that. or maybe just thinking "am i pressing the right button on the camera thingie". or indeed saying to myself ouch my eye is still quite sore and scratchy.

i probably won't ever use the "i spotted jimmy hill" pencil if the Viz decide to send it, you know. i think we call all guess what will happen. if they send it, i will get all excited, take pictures, do a blog post about it and then put it in a drawer or something. perhaps i should buck the trend of what i do with such things. perhaps i will force myself to use it or, if i do not feel quite so drastic, sell it to Spiros.

and if you are enthusiastic about such things, well then here is another picture of me doing the same as above, probably, but from a somewhat different angle. the eye being shown off, sort of, is the infected, bad, painful, itchy, scratchy one. although in fairness it is less so right now, a little bit watery really thank you for asking.

yes, i agree, that is a lovely bit of fence there, and my apologies for obscuring it somewhat with me being in it.

it's entirely possible as i walked that i was recalling, fondly and with the correct level of sentimental hygiene, the train rolling along away upon the tracks, in a coastal direction. if for some reason this makes you rather jealous because you cannot do the same, well actually you can. thanks to the magic of video.

here is a video, of about three seconds or so i think, of the train departing.

for some reason you people seem to like these videos, so for that reason i am happy to put them here. except i believe that them people at Apple don't like the videos so you can't watch it on certain Apple products, like the iTwat and the iTwat. sorry for that; use a device from a more reasonable manufacturer and watch away would be my advice.

another picture of moi? go on then.

here i am looking off into the distance, then, a bit like the way underwear models do for some reason that no one has ever quite worked out. maybe their jaw line, or jawline if that is a word - you know, the line of the jaw - accentuates the underwear they have on, or something like that.

one last picture of me, for this post at least, then. made a bit smaller than the rest to show some sign of sympathy for that which you are subjected to.

yeah, this is me holding the ticket, or tickets if you like. this ticket caused a bit of a scandal on the train, as it happens. the lady conductor on the train, over the microphone tanny address system thing, said quite clearly that everyone was to have the ticket for this specific journey at the ready as she came around to ram a pen through it, or write on it or something. i got a bit confused and bewildered as to which was the ticket relevant to the first journey and which was the correct one for this. i developed a strange fear of being thrown off a moving train by the lady conductor, who was lovely by the way, for presenting the wrong ticket.

in my panic, then, i opted to just simply give her both tickets and do that "look foreign" thing. you know, when you look like a simpleton and seem scared, confused and bewildered by the strange yet wonderful land you have ended up in; one in which you have no idea at all as to how the train tickets are supposed to work or in what way they are to be presented. in great fairness the lady conductor looked at the ticket, looked at me as i tried to do that "look foreign" thing, looked at the ticket, wrote on the ticket and moved on with her affairs. quite a relief, and i shall treasure the ticket right up to the point at which my (considerably) better half discovers where i have hidden it and throws it out as it is of no value or use any more.

speaking of my (considerably) better half, treats were the order of the day for her as i conducted my business in and around (well, in) town. that there is indeed one of them subway sandwich things, the one she likes.

what is it? a sandwich. oh, what's in it? chicken and avo, and some salad things and some honey and mustard sauce. on one of them honey loaf bread things, which i am led to believe is made with honey in it. the important thing is that my (considerably) better half was delighted with it, and enjoyed it as best and as much as one can in respect of a sandwich. and why not. enjoy every sandwich, a brilliant genius once spoke, just before he was taken away from this world.

the delight my (considerably) better half greeted the above item with was not really matched or mirrored with another item that i purchased. quite confused, baffled and puzzled by it, she was. although i am not. well, not much. a little, in passing, maybe.

up to now, so far as i am aware and i am happy to be corrected, i have not really had a relationship with things that are (i think) of French design and of Chinese manufacture. an unusual combination, really, personified in this box.

yes, some sort of rather basic Alcatel mobile phone thing. for what reason, since i have the blueberry and that, did i opt to buy this? well, it was significantly cheap, and the nice chap in the store did a hell of a job selling it to me.

actually, it was cheap, but not as cheap as it could have been. by recharing my phone for a specific amount, right, apparently i qualified to get the above for 49p. except, alas, i did not. i barely use my phone, look you see, and thus i had not recharged it or used it quite enough to meet their threshold of spending to qualify for it at a splendid price like that. it didn't really bother me, to be honest, but the chap looked somewhat crestfallen and down that he had, in a sense, betrayed me by dangling this French-Chinese thing at me and then snatching it away. when he persisted and looked up the non-special price - about four times the 49p special price - i said "yeah, OK" and bought it.

what's the phone like? no idea, still in the box. it looks like it does not do internets, emails, pictures of things like that, but it makes calls, sends text messages, gets delivery of both of them, and can do radio, i believe. a handy "emergency" one, then, or one simply for William and/or James to bash around a bit if it amuses either or both to do so. or i might just randomly post it to someone.

i am pretty sure that covers most if it, and indeed then some.

many thanks for reading!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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