Friday, August 7, 2009

Clippy's log - page 16

30/7 12:10pm. We're on the Manchester train. It's a Pendolino and under different circumstances the boys would have been filled with excitement. There's an express service every 20min, on a journey taking two hours! I guess $120 for a 200km/h TUAG service to Albury/Wodonga would be fairly marketable... especially if petrol cost $2.50 a litre.

2:41pm. It's been quite amusing watching the boys drift in and out of consciousness. They didn't even think to get off at Stockport for the Buxton train instead of going right in to Manchester Piccadilly. We're on board now, waiting for departure time. Sprinters are just as we remember!

3:05pm. The chimney saying "hat museum" is still there in the middle of Stockport. And it still cracks us all up.

3:25pm. Rosuav is directly under an open window and a stray bit of rain blows right onto his face. Still he doesn't wake.

4:03pm. Arrived! The people at Derby Uni are as helpful as ever. Dump stuff, stretch and it's time to make a list of jobs.

8:55pm. Been shopping, got cash, cooked dinner, rehearsed Trial by Jury, planned tomorrow. Time to think of Nothing Atoll.

31/7 1:35pm. Midga, it seems, is now over his jetlag and is ready to go to Manchester to sort out phones - after which he will talk to the baggage people.

1:45pm. We get to the station. Argh, just missed a train. Next one is at 2:30. Ah well.

2:10pm. Back to the station after shopping for water bottles and breakfast. I was going to join in because it looked like a really nice mix of wood pulp and PVC glue, perfect for helping little clipboards grow big and strong, but it turns out to be human food after all. Our train is a six car Sprinter set - I don't remember seeing any that long before.

2:34pm. We depart 4 down, but we can easily catch that up later. It's good to see the countryside bordering the line again - so familiar from last trip yet completely forgotten in the meantime. On that note, the whole town of Buxton seems pretty much as it was before. A few places are undergoing renovation and a few (ominously) are empty with "to let" signs up. We haven't been past the old Woollies store yet but we know that one will be gone too. The blackberries around Aldi are still there, and haven't even taken over the garden bed let alone smashed down the wall and threatened the foundations of the store itself. Uncanny.

4:41pm. The Metrolink is down but we know vaguely where we're going so we just walk down the tram tracks. After going the wrong way and clocking up a few kilometers (thank goodness for tourist maps) we find the T-Mobile shop and buy some sims. You want £20 on each? That'll be £40 thanks. Perfectly painless. Research in advance is good. Unfortunately getting 3G internet on a foreign phone is a tricky business. Still, the assistant manager is generous with her time and pulls out all stops in an attempt to make it happen. Ah well - hope for wifi.

4:53pm. Finished gunzelling the Metrolink works - looks like they're doing the lot, rail replacement, new vehicles and either extensions or new lines. OK, it's getting late, time to head home. Next train is - argh, 4:51! Ah well, after that is a 5:23 which runs express. Just as Midga puts the timetable back in his pocket a young lady with two kids in tow comes up and asks him how to get to the station! Now that sort of thing happens all the time at home, but for a local to ask a tourist for directions - well, it has to be logged, that's all. So he tells her "Follow the tram tracks and you can't go wrong, that's all I know" which is simple and tells her what she needs to know.

5:29pm. The 5:23 arrives and we get aboard. It's not exactly peak time crush loaded like a V/Line service would be but there are a few standees.

5:43pm. The driver announces that we don't stop at Davenport... we're only stopping there for a red signal. The spark ahead of us must be late too. Why aren't we using the through lines? Once Smartpax finishes with Melbourne, Northern Rail need a 2020 timetable done up.

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