Sunday, March 12, 2006

Chavs on the Line

Well done to the Chiltern Railways' Ticket inspector on the 14:00 train from High Wycombe towards London Marylebone this afternoon.

A couple of female teenage Chavs got on the train at Beaconsfield and proceeded to play rap type music from a mobile phone and generally acting in a loutish manner.

Challenged by the Ticket Collector for their tickets they came up with the biggest bunch of lame excuses one can imagine for not having purchased any tickets. The best line from him was "Where are you going to?". They said "Denham". He said "Oh no you're not, you are getting off the train with me at Gerrards Cross". Class!

Baggage gets an extra day in Geneva

And the reason for another break in entries.... yes another holiday. This time to the 'La Marmotte' hotel in the great ski resort of Les Gets at the end of the enormous 'Portes du Soleil' ski area.

We had a huge amount of fresh snow while we were there, no really blue sky days and one day of sleet and rain. However over all we had a fantastic time because the skiing was so good.

As for the travel:
  • London Underground to Victoria, then the Gatwick Express (five minutes late, which shouldn't really happen at £14 a go).
  • British Airways Flight from Gatwick to Geneva (15 Minutes late arriving). Emergency aisle seats (good), one bolshy stewardess (not good).
  • Shared Airport Transfer Service transfer from the airport to resort. Good value, but with a scheduled pick-up of 17:40, we eventually left the airport at 19:45. Motto: "Book a private transfer". Still driver James got us to the hotel in time for dinner.

The return journey was, shall we say 'interesting.
  • The transfer back was booked with 2 hours to last check-in at the airport. Following a delayed start (bad traffic from Morzine), horrendous queues, snow chains and a side road, driver David got us to the airport with four minutes to spare. I think more by good luck on his part than good management on the part of the transfer company. Some of our fellow transferees will most certainly have missed their flight. Thank goodness for the BA Self-Service Check-In service. It helped us to catch the flight, bypassing a line of about 50 people in the process.
  • The flight back was great- we had our own little row of seats at the back of our Boeing 737. We got a choice of sandwiches, chatty and friendly crew and generally rather enjoyable.

  • Unfortunately it all went a little awry at Gatwick. After a few minutes it became apparent that only two of our bags had made it onto the flight, but my main luggage was missing. Gill had a taxi waiting so after ticking off her luggage receipts and us saying our goodbyes after a great week, I had to initiate the 'Lost Luggage' process. I have to say that we only just checked in on time at Geneva. By the time I got home, I was able to tell online that my bag was having an extra night's holiday in Geneva. By 9.45am this morning, I received a telephone call from Gatwick Airport to say my bag had arrived. I then had two automated calls- the second was at 2.45pm to say my bag would be delivered by 3.30pm. A man in a little white van delivered my bag at 3.05pm.
  • I decided to get a Southern train back from Gatwick to Victoria (£4.60 with my Goldcard)- it took the same time as my outward jorney on the Gatwick Express (£14), the train was cleaner and less crowded.

Oh and a little footnote to my underground journey home- what looked like a gang of steamers boared my carriage one station from home, moved from the rear carriage to the next (pity the 'Danger of Death' notices didn't work) and proceeded to act with menace at my home station. I was able to leave the station without incident, but there were BTP and Met police vans and cars whizzing up the road within minutes. "Welcome home", I thought to myself.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thameslink & Midland Mainline (Oh - and a bit of skiing!)

I was fortunate enough to be skiing last week in Kitzbuhel, Austria. This involved charter flights between 'London' Luton Airport and Salzburg.

The Thameslink fast service I caught was great and bang on time. The Midland Mainline service back to St Pancras last Saturday was even quicker (21 mins) and very comfortable. With my annual Gold Card, it was only £9.75 return. Bargain!

Mind you, I didn't think much of the station layout at St Pancras which is in the middle of a major redevelopment.

The skiing in Kitzbuhel was great. Claire, Elaine, Colin, Pauline, Frances and Zoe, thank you for putting up with me. It's been back to work with a bump this week.

A while to the next blog. Sorry.