October 30, 2019
It was a rather sobering experience to have a twenty-something chap give up his seat for me on the very crowded train to York while visiting family in the UK. While it’s good to know this courtesy still occurs, it was rather challenging to realise I was the intended beneficiary. Travelling on public transport has long been limited to time in the UK but still, it was a shock to realise I’ve clearly crossed some invisible age threshold since it’s always been a case of me giving up a seat for an older person! I must now look older than I realised. Certainly older than I feel, which is an interesting observation in itself since don’t all of us feel about 18 inside much of the time? Can only think it was my natural hair colour, (a rather elegant silvery blonde that still catches me by surprise sometimes when I glance in a mirror), that swung it.
We learned the train was crowded due to a football match between Barnsley and Huddersfield. Good to know later that H’field won 🙂 Not that I really have the slightest interest in the game, but one has to be loyal to one’s former hometown.
Two days of steady rain had disrupted train schedules so getting home again was a lengthy procedure as several trains were delayed. Including ours. The journey home when we could eventually leave York station – the issue was finding a driver – was on an even more crowded train, and it was standing room only. I was always under the impression that a driver (and conductor) stayed on the same train for the duration of the shift. Not so apparently. This railway chaos meant some drivers were stranded on trains that were stuck, and they therefore couldn’t transfer to the next route they were scheduled to cover.
Autumn in England is a particularly difficult time for railways. The reason is falling leaves littering the line, and which are the cause of a serious safety issue. Who knew? I learned all about it from the information video clips that periodically flashed up on the screen in the carriage – when we finally were able to secure seats. An additional innovation that was new to me but certainly made for interesting reading.
Surprisingly given the season York was busy, chilly, and initially wet, but I did get to see York Minster, although only from the outside. Time constraints, and a need to consider the younger family members. I was rather horrified to learn that one has to pay to go in now , rather than being invited to make a donation, as was previously the case. It’s such a magnificent, stunning piece of architecture and moves me to tears every time.
The forecast ended up being accurate too. The rain did eventually stop and the sun did finally come out.