Tag Archives: travel

On the Train (or How Many Annoying Passengers Does It Take To Fill A Train Carriage)

3 Feb

I am currently sat on the train. I’ve been here for the past five hours, and before that I sat on the platform for half an hour wondering if I was about to die of cold. As you may have guessed, I am not in the cheeriest of moods.

I have also been accompanied on this journey by some spectacularly irritating passengers. There was:

The man who decided to share his germs with the rest of the carriage. After his umpteenth coughing fit, he commented that perhaps he ought to give up smoking. It may have been the best idea he’s ever had, and I’m privileged to have been there to witness it.

The genius in the seat opposite whose opinions were just so interesting that it would have been a crime for him not to have shared them. (They were about football and beer, and if he could have kept his voice down I would have been much appreciative.)

The gigglers. And not just any gigglers, but public school twats who compared schools, giggled, mocked one another’s laughs, and giggled some more. The mocking at least I could enjoy.

Everyone got off at the last stop, and I thought that possibly I could enjoy/survive the last hour of my journey in peace. But then the two people who had got on at said stop realised that they were long lost friends. The girl is flirting. The boy is talking about his girlfriend. It is doing nothing to dissuade her.

National Rail, in its infinite wisdom, thinks that I will be arriving in Reading in eight minutes. I only wish that it was true. God help me…

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The Gratitude List

2 Jan

It’s official. I spend too much time on Twitter. I only joined the site back in June, but it’s already usurped Facebook to win the title of Chief Internet Distraction. But I can’t complain while it continues to give me writing inspiration. For example, when I saw this circulating the other night, I just had to leap onto the bandwagon. People spend a lot of time complaining that social media makes us envious and depressed, as we see how great other people’s lives are. But how often do we stop and think about just how lucky we are? The challenge which was circulating on Twitter was to make a list of 100 things which you’re grateful for from the past year. Now, while I did manage to come up with the required number, I thought that 100 things were a little excessive – I didn’t want anyone falling asleep attempting to plough through the list! So, with a little revision, I’ve condensed it down to ten.

From 2011 I am grateful for:

  1. Old Friends. I spent a large part of the year abroad, and being apart from my friends has shown me how much I care about them (absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that). Being away for a long time also makes for amazing catch-up sessions when you return, one of the highlights being a day of sushi making for my birthday.
  2. New Friends. As I just said, I spent a large part of the year abroad, and I didn’t spend that time sitting in a corner and rocking. The new friends who I found this year are spread out across the world, but in this new age of technology, that won’t stop us from being friends for life.
  3. Family. My “rock god” father, my problem-solving mother, my chick flick-watching brother, and my entire crazy extended family. They may drive me insane most of the time, but I wouldn’t be half the person that I am without them, and I should be more aware of that fact.
  4. Pets. The last three bullet points have covered people, but my pets deserve a special mention too. Everyone needs a furry somebody in their life, and I’m lucky enough to have two!
  5. Home. I’ve lived in many places this year: a flat above a former brothel on the Viennese Gürtel, a detached house in the Home Counties, a tent pitched in the driving rain in the American Berkshire mountains, the “little witch house” in Bamberg, a student bedroom in Durham. All have been home in their own way, and I’m grateful for all of them (well, maybe not the tent, but you get the idea…).
  6. Travel. 2011 has been, without a doubt, a very good year for travelling. I’ve visited eight different countries, climbed the Empire State Building at midnight, drunk  in sports bars in small-town Pennsylvania, crossed Romania by train and bus, and met some incredible people along the way. Travel has always been my passion, and I’m hoping that 2012 allows me to do even more of it.
  7. Education. I’m approaching the end of my final year of university, and although part of me can’t wait to be free (even if I step into the waiting arms of a postgraduate journalism course), part of me will definitely miss geeking it up in language classes and history seminars. Shoddy administration aside, Durham has treated me well over the past few years, and I shall be sorry to say goodbye.
  8. New Experiences. This ties in with the travel somewhat, and if I was to make a comprehensive list of my new experiences last year, it would go on forever! But suffice to say that 2011 has been a year of firsts for me: first rock festival, first CouchSurfing experience, first time travelling in first class, and many many more!
  9. Television. Many of the points on this list have been fairly serious, so I felt the need to be at least a little flippant. My favourite television shows cheer me up when I’m feeling blue, give me something about which to natter to my friends, and have provided the inspiration for many a blog post.
  10. You. I’ve loved developing this blog over the past six months, and watching my readership grow. So to everyone who has read, commented, subscribed, and generally made me feel good about myself as my stats have climbed: thank you! You’re all responsible for my inflated ego!

What are you grateful for? If this post inspires you to make your own list, please do leave a link to it in the comments!