A Travellerspoint blog

United Kingdom

Blissful London

24 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Friday 2nd September - London

The good thing about London is the familiarity, having been there many times before it was hardly going to be a difficult campaign. I was going south, catching up with old mates and then shooting off to catch up with some more. Simple. The ride down was great, complimentary food and drink, free WiFi, yeah man, this is how I roll. The London underground is a little more comprehensive of course but I was qualified enough. This travelling melarky is an absolute sintch, my preloaded Oyster card in hand; I just flew through those gates with aplomb. After parking myself down on a seat I watched all those anonymous Southern people carefully maintaining their anonymity, I couldn’t help feeling that little bit smug as I coasted into Park Royal underground station, I’d be in a pub in no time, drinking beer and winding down.

The station though was a little different to what I recalled; it must have slipped my mind that Park Royal was an overground station? As I coaxed into the station the familiarity of the place faded fast. What had escaped me entirely for the whole 40 minute journey was that it was Queens Park station, not Park Royal I needed. I had got it wrong, but only by 50% at least!!

Slam. There goes the smug self-satisfied over confident bastard and here comes the panic stricken all hope is lost look that I was waiting until Russia to perfect. It had suddenly dawned on me that London was in fact a really big place, and I had managed to get a 40 minute tube ride to find the only tube station positioned quite sensibly on a motorway.

Well, all is not lost I thought and there is no need to panic just yet…. there is the simple easy out option of getting a taxi, all is good, what was I worried about. Only I had wrongly assumed that the words Taxi, Taxi-cab, cab were universal like Coca Cola.
And so began a 2 mile trek along the motorway to find some shops and a central area I was told existed over the brow.

Great… a shop

Option 1, Go inside, get a number or directions to a taxi rank.
“Hello, could you help me, I was wondering if there is a Taxi rank nearby?”
“Sorry Sir, what is it you would be wanting today?”
“Taxi-cab, you know, Taxi car…… Taxi…. A Cab”
“A Cab?” I was exhausted of this
“Oh yes Sir, a taxi”

Great, he gave me a card of a taxi company 15 miles outside of London. That wasn’t going to work.

Option 2, go inside Lebanese restaurant they call cabs for customers all of the time, this shouldn’t be a problem.

“Excuse me, but do you know if there is a taxi rank nearby or do you know if there is a number I can call?” Mr Lebanon looked very blandly at me he was tired; he had been carving kebobs all day by the roasting hot oven. I was being engulfed by the same heat and this 25kg bag on my back was kinking my back , I had been walking with a limp from an old sporting injury and my jeans which I thought were great when I packed them were slipping down my ass, I knew how he felt.

He proceeded to rummage through a bowl of company cards on the front desk, frantically searching for a card, I was sure he knew what he was looking for.
3 minutes we stood there together by that baking oven, sweat dripping down our faces, whilst he searched for the card.
It was worth it of course, the card he handed me was entirely useless.


Where in the hell had I landed

I was running out of options, I had to call the 4th emergency services, I was deteriorating badly, I was suffering from a serious bout of embarrassment, fatigue, and overwhelming stress. At this point I was quite sure that I would not survive this. I have heard about those emergency beacons that you can buy, quite expensive I hear, but when you trigger them GPS will pinpoint your location, and help arrives before you can say “Kebab”. Could be an option if i survive this episode?

118 118 can I help you please?

Yes, I’m lost tired hungry and look like a hobo, get me the fuck out of this mess.

2 hours later, £20 down and drinking £4 pints of watered down beer I had smashed my daily budget in record time. Look out Russia, here I come!!

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 09:36 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london taxi park royal underground business card queens cab kebab Comments (2)

First Class? Fo Shizzle...

overcast 15 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Friday 2nd September - 12:22 – Darlington to London



Apparently if you have a first class ticket you can’t actually get into the first class lounge, you have to pay an additional £5 to gain that exclusive privilege. I had to persist that this was a bit unfair given the hefty premium I had paid to secure my safe and secure passage out of Darlington, where the people are known exclusively for their general nomadic tendencies and their love of the Civic Theatre.

There was little point persisting, I had stolen a glimpse of the lounge itself. For £5 you were treated to a sweaty high ceilinged room with a loud 15” CRT TV in the corner playing a flickering episode of Judge Judy, soulless seats were left littered, scratched and empty. I withered away with my first class ticket in hand hoping that I could in fact get a first class seat on a first class train. But hey, the train was due at 11:59, it is now 12:20 and the true British Network of Rail has demonstrated once again that for a premium, you actually get nothing more than a shiny ticket probably with a different font and if you’re lucky it might carry a water mark.

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 06:01 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london train first class free darlington Comments (0)

Day 1 of the next episode

overcast 15 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Friday 2nd September - 10:55 – Middlesbrough to Darlington

Saying goodbye to the people I loved was quite difficult, I was and am blessed to know such a huge amount of cool people who could wait no longer for me to eventually sod off and stop talking about this bloody trip.

On Platform Number 1 at Middlesbrough Train Station seeing me off were two most significant of the many women in my life, Ma and Victoria, I was going to miss them both and it was all a little emotional, but I was at this point more concerned with the first part of my journey. Of all the routes I will be taking the train from out of Middlesbrough was always going to be the most difficult and potentially the most hostile. The indigenous people of this area are rather negatively-pleasant, particularly to the outsider, and since I was a North Yorkshire man of late then they might sense that foreign element, they may tut disapprovingly, they may scorn. This can happen and does happen quite frequently in pizza establishments in mornings before the sun has broken. Would I be safe on the first leg, would they let me leave?

As the train rolled away from the station, I could see Victoria and my mother holding each other and blowing kisses towards the train. I could only respond the way I knew how, with a Victory salute, only I got a little muddled and forgot to turn my hand, and Victory quickly turned into a Piss Right Off!! Bye Bye Boro I’m outta here!!


Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 05:55 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged train middlesbrough darlington Comments (0)

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