Susan Morrison: Ticket to ride’s a rail good idea

The Red Flag flies forever within my heart, for I am an old class warrior who looks forward to the day I trample the boss class ‘neath the hooves of my avenging steed as I vault my mighty charger over the barricades.

Travelling first class thanks to an East Coast Rail offer proved an eye-opener. Picture: TSPL
Travelling first class thanks to an East Coast Rail offer proved an eye-opener. Picture: TSPL

There are times, you know, when I think I should lay off the Vicks Sinex.

Pleb and proud, that’s me. Cattle-class travel all the way. Until, that is, there is a special offer on The 
People’s Railway (for the time being), East Coast Rail.

First Class for only a couple of quid more. Well, I thought, I’ll have some of that for the trip to Newcastle. Class warrior I may be, but I will always glory in the bagging of a bargain.

Comrades, this is why they keep us apart. Why, the gates of Downing Street would be stormed on the morrow if we could all take advantage of the special advance booking system for cheap East Coast Railway First Class tickets, and see how the pampered kings of capitalism travel.

Where, I thought, are the drunken oil riggers, the screaming children and the shrieking orange harridans on their mobiles?

This is sleek silent luxury. They kept calling me madam. Rich people, it seems, can be trusted with china mugs and cutlery. Tea is brought to the table. It is drinkable. And you don’t have to pay. For some reason, rich people get stuff free. I mean, I know it’s included in the price, but seriously, it’s free.

I downed so much tea that I worried for the safety of the good people of Berwick-Upon-Tweed when I had to go to the loo. The loos were lovely. Mind you, I was getting blasé by that time.

Did I mention the cake? They kept giving me cake. Given that East Coast Rail is still owned by the 
people, I felt it incumbent upon myself to eat as much of the workers’ cake as I could, and the staff just kept it coming.

Seriously, how does the boss class do it? By the time I staggered off the train at Newcastle I was hitting levels of sugar saturation that indicated that I was about to slump into a coma, far less wreck an economy, send a bank into tailspin or even sneer at a policeman.

Let’s all go black to the future

Black Friday? You call that Black Friday? Well seeing that’s an American notion. We, with our centuries of history, can tell you what a real black Friday is.

Why, you imagine getting in your Dark Ages Christmas shopping, when the donkey’s just gone lame on you again, plague’s broken out all over the shop,Vikings have just rocked up on the beach, you still have a presents to get for Uncle Athelstan, and you know for a fact that the English are headed your way, probably to take their carrier bags back. That’s a Black Friday.

If that’s the bag you’re into . .

Newcastle says hi, Edinburgh, and is looking forward to the dawn of an entirely new economic boom, as hen parties give way to Carrier Bag tourism.

Blithely unconcerned about the effect of rampant plastic bag use upon the habitat of The Greater Crested Hoot Billed Wader, the English are still giving out carriers like a drunken rigger tipping a lady in a questionable establishment swinging around a pole, before he catches the train home. Not in First Class.

Bemused Geordies stood aside as near-hysterical Scots ripped bags off by the handful, crowing “they’re free!”.

The day cannot be far off when trains and coaches descend upon the Tyne to denude Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons of every plastic bag we can lay our hands on and carry them homeward to use again.

A very British space oddity

The British are going into space again! Yes, finally, the dreams of Dan Dare are coming true. Well, not quite. It seems we are sending what looks a lot like a bin to the moon in 2024.

It’s more than that, of course. It’s packed full of science stuff and experiments and the like, but does have the unmistakable look of Heath Robinson about it.

You will recall, of course, that at the height of the Cold War, the USSR and USA hurled every resource they had at their disposal to win the race for space. Not for us. Bit vulgar that. No, we’ve gone for crowd funding. It’s where lots of people chuck in their pennies to get us to the moon.

In return, you get to send a strand of your hair, or a letter which might get back to Earth in about 200 years’ time.

Given the review of the postal services being carried out by our current government, that’s about how long we might expect our future post to travel from Livingston to Perth.