Saturday, 3 April 2010

First class

Awake at 6.30am to make our way to the Lakes for a wedding. Escaping London for five days! As we walk along platform 12 at Euston I feel a huge weight lifting from my shoulders. Southern man cannot - but that's probably because of the rucksack filled with dresses, hair straighteners and boots he's carrying.

We grab two seats in the quiet zone in coach A. You don't get as many idiots in the quiet zone. An hour in, halfway through an article on the 'black widow' suicide bomber, a Geordie ticket inspector asks for our tickets. I find them in my handbag and hand them to her. She looks at them.
'What are you doing down here?' she asks.
'Oh, we work in London but we're going to a friend's wedding in Carlisle. But we're hoping to move up north soon. We're trying to find jobs and ...'
'No, I mean down here in coach A. These are first class tickets.'

Then I remember - I booked the tickets online months ago and it was only £3 extra to go first class. I could afford to see how the other half travel. Ah.

We drag our bags back through six carriages and arrive just in time to get free tea, water, cheese crisps and shortbread fingers. Even though my coeliac means I can't eat them, I pocket them anyway, and ask for more. Free stuff is free stuff.

There is more leg room in first class - and posher lights. The window sealant looks thicker. I'm just thinking that, despite missing the first hour, I am getting my £3-worth, when a small boy is sick on the table next to us. He starts to flick the sick from his fingers, as if it is a funny game. Bits of sick fly on to sleeping southern man's head. The boy's mother grabs him by the arm and drags him to the toilet. An announcement is made for a 'biohazard cleaner' to be sent to first class, urgently. The sweet smell of sick fills my nostrils and I taste my free tea again. Maybe the standard carriage isn't so bad.

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