Sunday, 3 February 2008

An incident in Birmingham


The journey home did not go exactly as planned. After waiting for an hour for the 305 at Bedford bus station, a cold brutal place, I phoned the National Express emergency number. I wasn’t really sure it was an emergency but I was getting a little cold. A lovely young woman called Kay or Jay or something similar told me the coach had broken down in Birmingham but that a silver replacement bus was on its way and should arrive in another hour. She also told me that, as I would miss my change in Cambridge, she would arrange a free Taxi from Trumpington, park’n’ride to Ipswich. Reassured I went to find a Cornish pasty. For the next hour I attempted a number of keeping warm techniques. I tried: pacing, shivering, waving my arms about, dancing, an abortive moonwalk and even imagining warm places. By the time the coach arrived and the driver asked me my destination I couldn’t remember where I was going. An hour later in a warmish coach we were still circling Cambridge trying to find the way to Parker’s Piece. Unfortunately the driver, from Birmingham, had never been to Cambridge before and was finding the road layout a little troublesome. Eventually after much shouting we made our rendezvous with the second coach, which was to take me and a little old lady to meet the taxi. After waiting 20 minutes at the park & ride we persuaded the man on duty (Bob) to phone the National Express emergency number to find out where our taxi was. Again I’m not sure it was an emergency but the little old lady was quite elderly. Bob announced, proudly, that the taxi had indeed been booked but that it was waiting for us at Park-side not Park’n’ride. An easy mistake. Its times like these you realise how close death can be. I finally reached home after six hours.