This last week has been none stop and it is only now that my brain and body can take rest and take stock of things. Most nights this week I have had something on such as meet up friends or rehearsals or something else like that so have never really just sat and relaxed. It’s not a bad thing at least I am getting out a bit more but I could do with some me time. Anyway here is what has been going on this week.
I’m going to start off with some observations from travelling on trains. Regular readers know I commute by train to and from work. It’s ok but you do see some odd behaviour and see the best and worst of society. One night this week I got on the train to go home and was sat just trying to let the days events settle in my head while listening to my iPod. In the carriage was the refreshment trolley and a lady went and asked to view his selection of rose wine. This behaviour is fine and totally acceptable in a restaurant (yes you look snobby but it’s still allowed), a wine cellar etc. I looked bemused at the situation front of me and the guy working on the trolley showed the one type of rose wine in a small bottle priced at £4.50. The lady was disgusted but not at the rip off price instead the wine wasn’t of a higher standard. Honestly I wasn’t in first class and neither was she and it was an East Coast train not the blooming Orient Express. She then asked to see the white wine selection which was also just one type. She still didn’t look impressed but took it. She also asked for some ice for the wine. The guy told her they didn’t have any ice. She walked away with in disgust with her small bottle of wine and plastic glass and £4.40 worse off. Her behaviour was terrible but it did cause amusement. I wonder if she enjoyed her wine ?
The other bit of bad behaviour I saw on the train this week was by the conductor on the train. It was on Friday on my way home. It was a busy train and I managed to get a seat on a table of four with three others already seated. I sat down and listened to my iPod. There was a guy sat opposite me next to the window. He was also listening to music and drinking Pure Yoga Bunny drink from Pret and eating some sugar snap peas. This is unusual food on a train so he caught my attention that and he was cute (his hair was immaculate). Anyway we were all sat and then train conductor arrived in the carriage wanting to see tickets. This guy had his back to the conductor and couldn’t hear but saw the rest of us getting our tickets and he started to get his out. Sadly the train conductor had an issue with people with headphones. He glared at me but my ticket was out so he didn’t say anything. The guy (still with headphones on) handed his ticket over and presumed it was ok. The train conductor then asked for his rail card he didn’t hear this so the conductor got really nasty and touched the guys shoulder and said again where’s your rail card. The guy was about to answer when the conductor who by now was on a major power trip said “do I have to ask a third time?”. The guy said he didn’t have a rail card because the friend he was going to see in Manchester and bought them for him. He apologised and offered to buy a ticket or pay the difference. The conductor said he couldn’t pay the difference and was going to charge him the full price. By now the whole train carriage was getting annoyed but with the conductor as he kept making snide comments and remarks. We knew he had a job to do that’s fine but he was deliberately being mean and rude to this guy. He wanted to publicly humiliate him for his ticketing error. The guy wasn’t happy but stayed calm and was never rude back. He handed his card to pay for a ticket (which was followed by more snide comments). However there was a problem with the machine. The card was fine he just couldn’t get the machine to work. He then passed the card back and said he would speak to the guy later. He left the carriage with everyone shaking their heads in disgust at him while we all offered support to the poor guy. I know the conductor has a job to do but he could have done it in a better way I have seen others handle same situations better than that. I think that conductor needs to have better customer service skills and to put his name badge on the right way round. I have seen people behave terrible on trains and some (I know it’s not all) conductors don’t challenge them instead they take it out on people who make genuine errors. I had to get off the next stop and the guy was on his phone to his mate explaining what had happened. I just hope when the conductor went back he was more respectful and apologised for his behaviour after all someone drinking a Yoga Bunny drink is not the type of person to cause trouble.
As well as observing the behaviour of train travellers I have had a lot going on this week. I mentioned a few blog ago that I had a lot of boxes open. Well this week some of them were getting dealt with. I had an interview at work for a promotion which would be a job share but I would make up the other hours at my current grade. It sounds a bit confusing and I will try to make sense of it (like I do with many life issues) by comparing it to He-Man. Some of the time he is just the blonde floppy haired pink shirt wearing Prince Adam. Then when it all gets serious he is He-Man. Anyway back to the interview. Interviews are always scary and I get nervous at the best of times. A colleague though said to me that I had to go and dazzle. Which is brilliant advice and I would give this advice to anyone going for a job. It also meant that the song Razzle Dazzle from Chicago also jumped into my head (what can I say I’m gay I can’t help it) and I listened to it on my way to work on the day of the interview and on Twitter I referred to it as Operation Razzle Dazzle. It must have worked as I got the job. It means a lot to me to get this opportunity and I better not let others down or myself. Thanks to those who gave me the words of encouragement I needed this week it all helped and hopefully I will prove to you all that you were right to believe in me.
After a busy and intense week of interviews, socializing, and rehearsals I was glad when the weekend arrived so I could just relax and have fun. so I went with some friends from work to see Cats the Musical at Sunderland Empire Theatre. I have never seen Cats live on stage. I know the songs and have read the poems by T.S. Elliot and I do remember watching it on VHS which is obviously a long time ago and anyway seeing it live is always better. The show was fantastic and I realised how odd a musical it is. There are great songs but if anything it is more a dance show. It was spectacular and worth seeing if you get the chance. As well enjoying the show it also gave the opportunity to see a bit of Sunderland. To some people Sunderland may not seem that appealing but I have a soft spot for the city. It’s where I went to uni and some great and some bad times. I used to go at least once a year since I finished uni but I haven’t been for a number of years and there have been some changes. The last time I was at the Sunderland empire was for my graduation way back in 2002 so it was nice to be back at this venue. I even relived going on stage as during the interval of Cats you could go on the set and get programmes signed. I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity like that. So overall it was a great day and I suppose you could say it brought back a happy memory.
Well that is it for this week. Hopefully this week won’t be as intense as the last week. So until then bye for now
Peter Bowles and Colin Buchanan
Top Programme of the Week – Case Histories
Top Song of the Week – Cast of Cats – Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat
Book I Am Currently Reading – The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge