The trains from Cardiff to Manchester are crude utilitarian cattle-boxes. There’s two toilets, both generously awash with commuter-wazz. There are still those little cards atop each seat to indicate reservation – the kind last seen inside seventies library books. There are no charge-points, so my carriage is full of dudes in latte-coloured chinos swearing as their laptop batteries expire. We’re moving so slowly that when we briefly travel alongside a motorway, heavy goods vehicles overtake us.
I reckon the UK’s much-discussed productivity conundrum is largely down to the fact that for a quarter of a working day the entire country is trapped in airless work-free zones, phone-calls abandoned, emails and uploads deffed off. I’m writing this with a slim fraction of laptop energy left and listening to music on a phone in low power mode. Plus it’s night so the carriage windows are cruelly illuminated matt-sheen obsidian mirrors. I’m forced to regularly consider my reflection; unpleasant since I look like a homeless alcoholic.
Anyway, happy new year!
As I type the train is pulling into a town that looks like a Brexit-nest of Range Rovers and racists. The chaps in chinos and preparing to alight; no doubt fleeing for the warmth and liberally-available electricity of their suburban homes.
Three hours without a plug. It’s enough to drive a guy to drink.