The joy of train travel, sometimes
There's a line in the first Bridget Jones novel where she Â casts aside the temptation of a Â chauffeured limo Â (albeit proffered by the pompous Mark Darcy)and anounces '˜I shall get one of my trains,' before stomping off to board one of British Rail's finest, no doubt.
I often think of this when I contemplate a rail journey as in theory I quite enjoy a journey not involving a car and trains offer a freedom that a car cannot.
You can have a wee, albeit requiring thigh strength and basic balance skills, particularly on a tilt.
You can have a cup of tea or even more luxuriously, a gin and tonic mixed together in a can and poured in a plastic cup - in which case you are possibly winning at life.
That is - in theory - because this is based on the assumption that your train is not overly full and you can fit both yourself, your bag and your elbows inside the doors and you don’t have to fold yourself in two and insert your body on the luggage rack in worrying proximity to a hairy , odd-smelling,stranger.
It also assumes that the said train arrives on time, that you haven’t - accidentally - bought a ticket for the wrong operator - and that you left enough time to sprint two miles to the correct platform before it gets changed at the last minute and you have to run back.
It is also assumed that during that sprint, your ticket did not flutter on to the line, or that your cleverly-purchased digital version is not hidden away in the phone you earlier forgot to charge.
But most importantly it also assumes that your train is a train and not indeed a replacement bus, or even worse, cancelled entirely.
In which case, you may as well have stayed home and gone out for a gin and tonic - in an actual glass.
Safe to say trains can be tricky - and recent times have seen them more unreliable than ever - but there is a certain joy to travelling by train, issues and all, which cannot be replicated on the busy M6 or M1 while your foot cramps at repeated applications and your bladder, soberly, protests.
But mainly, the views!
It’s a tour of Britain, warts and all.
Though I’m not saying I’d turn down a chauffeur.