COLUMN: The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster - Credit: Archant

The Ely Grumpster’s weekly ramblings...

• As anybody even remotely acquainted with the Grumpster can testify, I actually love trains: in certain conditions and circumstances. Glasgow to Oban, Settle to Carlisle, New York to Toronto – doesn’t get much better. One can sip a coffee, gaze at the stunning backdrop and thank the Lord that your blood pressure isn’t smashing through the roof as a consequence of a ten mile tailback on the M1. Word of warning – we travelled on from Oban to the Hebridean island of Lismore on a ferry the size of a postage stamp. If you don’t like being smacked in the face by a wave the size of Everest, stay in your car (and no, I didn’t).

• This Easter, we will be travelling to Glasgow by train and then in December, picking up the Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide via Alice Springs. All food and ale included. Ok, we went for the discount deal, so may well have to share our cabin with a pig-faced Okker in a singlet, or possibly a kangaroo, but hey, sharing a bed with a Aussie with body odour and head to toe body hair is a small price to pay for such an amazing experience.

• Where train travel becomes an ordeal is simply trying to get from Ely to London. So short a journey. So many bear traps. Relatively normal of late, but still the usual smattering of cancellations and delays, plus the never ending irritation of inconsiderate, low boredom threshold numpties “entertaining” us with their bellowed phone conversations: “Hello darling. Has Peregrine had his breakfast? Has he been on the potty? Oh wonderful”. Or “oh hi James. Have you cancelled that meeting for 3pm today? Good. Don’t forget to book that 365 degree review for tomorrow”. Relief only arrives once we hit the tunnels south of Letchworth.

• Reacting can be a dangerous business. Two weeks ago, after listening to inane, inarticulate blathering for over 20 minutes, I shot my oblivious neighbour the Grumpster death-stare. Far from being intimidated, my new best friend screamed back “why are you looking at my face, you old git? It’s a free country innit?” Well that told me!

• I can only think of one option other than retiring. Once our mate Donald Trump has finished his Texas/Mexico border wall, we should hire his engineers to build a monster tunnel from Ely to King’s Cross. Now that would be money well spent.