This weekend I saw Big Bro and his wife, Maxi Clog and their son, Mini Clog. Mini Clog is quite the most gorgeous thing in the whole world and it was lovely to meet him again after so long. When he called me aunty I almost fainted with shock, having quite forgotten that I am one.
*note to self – must try and act a little more responsibly…
I got to see Nottnum Cousin 2 and Nottnum Uncle too, and it was so nice to see so many of the important men in my life in one weekend! Men I find are classed in several categories… there are those who I love, those who I really really like, and those who I wish would take life-long sabbaticals to Timbuktu… and then, there’s Pete.
Now, the reason I’m on first-name terms with the ticket officer at the Rents’ station is that quite simply, he seems to think his sole purpose in his life is to make my life miserable… and I’m not just being my usual egocentrical self either. He’d let a ticketless vagrant through those barriers sooner than he’d allow me through.
So let’s set the scene…
In order to enjoy a full weekend at the rents, I often choose to return at stupid o’clock on a Monday morning and, due to rail fares being half my monthly salary, I choose the cheapest option available, which allows me to take one of two trains an hour.
Now, this is all well and good – and in an organised country like Switzerland, I would have no concerns with this. But, unfortunately, this is England and both those trains are owned by Richard Branson.
To be fair, I’ve got nothing against him personally, but I do have a problem with a company that thinks its trains are running OK if they turn up at some point that week.
So anyway, I usually turn up at the station with a few minutes to spare and to subtly waft my ticket in Pete's direction. The first time I did this, he told me it wasn’t valid and, even though the exact time was printed on it and Mr Branson had posted it to me, he tried to make me buy a new one – the cost of which would clear a small country of its debt.
I tried very hard to contain my tantrum and even resorted to my Cat-from-Shrek look, but nothing worked. However, eventually, when it became clear that he was WRONG and I was RIGHT, he let me through and, with about 2 seconds to spare, I hurled myself on the train.
Pete and I have come to blows no less than six times in our short ‘friendship’ – one time it cost me £18 – but to be fair, that was partly Mr B’s fault as his company decided to reschedule all of its trains to arrive the following week and that was too late for me.
One time he made me cry as I watched my train come… and go…
This morning he was there and recognised me instantly. The Spaghetti Western music started up as we squared up across the ticket barrier and he hmmmed and aaahed over my ticket, inspecting it this way and that. Eventually he said, ‘Have you got a young person’s railcard?’
‘Do I look like I should have?’ I snapped impatiently, cross with him as in big bold letters it says ‘Only valid with disabled adult’ on my ticket. In the end I said to him slowly and carefully with an edge of irate pit bull in my voice, ‘I am disabled’ and it was then I realised I had said the magic word.
He waved me through, in a flurry of DDA panic and I made my train. But I have a feeling this sorry saga is not over. I will be seeing him again in just under two weeks and I bet this time he asks to see my wooden leg as proof.