Apologies once again for my absence, I was away for work and then in Montreal for a week visiting ma belle. Apologies also to my Montreal friends whom I didn't contact, which makes all of you, as my time was rather exclusively monopolised by said girl :)
Don't take the train on a Sunday
As mentioned above I had to be away for work recently, which meant a trip down to Oxford to perform the very delicate installation of our module. This was complicated by the fact that I had to fly to Montreal on the Wednesday and I really needed two full days to perform this task.
So, it was agreed that I would take the train down on the Sunday and then instead of coming back to Durham Tuesday night, I'd go straight to Heathrow from my hotel. Ah yes, a Sunday train journey - with a rucksack full of my stuff for my vacation AND a holdall full of scientific detectors, worth around... a house. No, seriously, about quarter of a million pounds. In an Adidas holdall. Sitting on a luggage rack on a train. Out of my sight. 'Twas a little stressful.
Actually the whole ride was stressful - it seemed to be the only train running that day and was packed. Absolutely rammed. Not helped by the fact that it had only 5 cars instead of the intended 8. Genius. And it stopped everywhere so everyone wanted to catch it. Luckily, Durham was near the start so I was able to get a seat - but I was pretty much confied to it as you couldn't walk up and down the carriage... for seven hours.
This was only about half an hour longer that planned, which is rather good considering how busy it was and that between Leeds and Sheffield "vandals" lobbed a brick at the train and smashed the outer panel of one of the windows in my carriage (on the opposite side to where I was sitting). Luckily it didn't break the inside one, so no-one was hurt, but we had to stop and wait for the police so the driver could give a statement, and they could remove the shattered glass. This didn't help to the overcrowding since they then taped off the 4 seats adjacent to the window - eventually people just ignored it and sat down anyway.
Still, I was rather impressed how stoic everyone was, or maybe it was just everyone was resigned to their fate.. after all complaining wasn't going to do any good was it?