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4:31pm on Monday, 15th April, 2019:



I've finally arrived in Falmouth for the AISB conference tomorrow.

The train ride was not fun. I had a seat booked for the 5-hour journey, but it turned out to be next to the entrance, facing where wheelchairs go. There was no overhead luggage compartment and although the person in the window seat had a table, I didn't. I had to sit with my coat and my bag between my legs the whole time. The woman who sat next to me smelled of cigarettes, and the woman across the aisle had two children with her, one of whom was a baby who could crawl but not walk.

It was meant to be a quiet coach, but although the woman next to me was quite willing to complain about the woman across the aisle whose kids were making a noise, she herself had no compunction about chatting loudly for 20 minutes with a friend who visited her from another carriage. "There are plenty of seats there if you want to join us", she said. The woman next to me insisted she wanted her own space,though. Yes, and the way you put your stuff everywhere, you wanted some of my space too, woman to my left. I was hit by the refreshments trolley every single time it went past.

The woman who was taking her two kids all the way to Truro had booked seats but there was nowhere for her pushchair so she took the other wheelchair space. She had forgotten to bring toys, so let the baby play with her phone (which survived being dropped from the pushchair many times) and her purse (from which the youngster removed all the credit cards and threw them on the floor; I think she managed to recover them all once she noticed).

Would that the phone had been broken, though: the mother was using it when her child went off on a crawling expedition and wasn't detected by the automatic doors to the next carriage. These shut on the child's head. He complained somewhat loudly, but the safety features on the doors had kicked in and saved him from having his skull crushed. His mother was so alarmed that she didn't even finish her text message before rescuing him. Of course, if she hadn't been sending one, he wouldn't have made it to the door in the first place.

The only other feature of the journey worth mentioning was that there was a passenger on the train who was so tall he couldn't stand up straight without banging his head on the roof. It needed to be maybe 10cm higher than it was.

I arrived in Truro to find it raining heavily. It hadn't rained anywhere else along the route, but it was chucking it down in Cornwall. It was still raining in Falmouth, so I got to test the waterproofness of my coat (verdict: great!) and my bag (verdict: not so great...).

I then spent 30 minutes trying to get into my laptop because my finger was wet and failed the fingerprint scan too much. It kept asking for a pin, but I had no idea what it might be (it's a new laptop). I won't tell you how I finally got in as it exposes something of a security risk...

It also turns out that I'm here for 4 nights, not the 3 I thought I was here for. That will make the journey home more leisurely, but it does mean I'll have to buy another day's worth of clothes.

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Copyright © 2019 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).