Tuesday 20 September 2011

I'm on the train...

Well, I was. Earlier today. And behind me was a woman who apparently works for a well-known publishing house (I'm being discreet here, though heaven knows why, because she certainly wasn't), and for nearly the whole of the journey, she was busy talking on her mobile, organising her day. Loudly.

Among other things - lots of other things - I gathered that her name was Jo, and she was trying to get hold of Miranda and Michaela. She was also trying to track down an author to sign a contract so that they could give her her advance, and another author had said she was too busy to take part in Radion 4's A Good Read (at this point, I had to restrain myself from leaping up and offering to go in this person's place). She was also planning to stay somewhere for five days, but it was going to cost $350 per night. She was a bit shocked, but it seems that she's going to go anyway.

You may say that I shouldn't thave listened, but I had no choice. I couldn't concentrate on my own book because my new friend Jo was talking so loudly. And while some of what she said was quite interesting, I couldn't help wondering why, if she could afford to stay somewhere for $350 a night, she couldn't also afford to travel first class, and leave people like me in peace.

I wish that instead of having Quiet Carriages, invariably impossible to find, the railways would have Noisy Carriages, and put them right at the back. Oh, and Jo, if you should happen to read this, next time please, please KEEP YOUR VOICE DOWN.

Thank you.


  1. I think you should have offered to go on the radio. I expect if you had, she'd have been surprised you knew she needed someone. When people put a phone the their ear, they seem to forget they're not the only person around.

  2. You could have told her you were answering her cry of help, which was why you would be quite happy to step in to do the radio 4 good read for her.

    Also you would be more than happy to take up the offer of advance if she couldn't track down the other author because you would hate to see it go to waste. If not, there were plenty of other authors who you were in contact with who are much easier to find if she was interested you could pass on their details in a jiffy.


  3. Since I travel on the train quite a lot, I am only too familiar with that situation. And I agree with Patsy and Jarmara - you should indeed have offered to go on Radio4!
    Do you know Lynne Truss' book about "The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life"? I wrote a review on my blog, here:
    and it sums up quite nicely what a lot of us, myself included, deal with every day.

  4. Mm, yes I'd have definitely offered to do the radio gig too!

  5. I hate it when that happens because you can't help but listen. I think the noisy carriage would be a very good idea.

  6. No wonder you couldn't concentrate. I had a Viewpoint article published in The Lady many moons ago about mobile nuisances on trains when mobiles were quite new - seems they've only got worse!

  7. Mobile phones? Aaargh!!!

    Personally, I think they should be banned - except for emergency use. I mean, there was a time, not a million years ago, when mobile phones did not exist. And we managed then, didn't we?

    I was waiting at a bus stop in Taunton recently and there was a chap sitting in the shelter talking - no, shouting - into his mobile, non-stop for twenty minutes or so. Gradually the queue drifted further and further back on the pavement away from him until he was left in solitary occupation of the shelter.

    And he didn't even realise.

    The bus came and we all got on and as we drove away he was still sitting there talking at the top of his voice, totally oblivious of how objectionable he was being.

    And he wasn't even catching the bus!

  8. Patsy, you're right. Too late now!

    Jarmara - now why didn't I think of that!

    Librarian, yes. I've read the book. Shame everyone else hasn't!

    Jenny, yes. A wasted opportunity!

    Colette, what amazes me is that people speak so LOUDLY on mobiles. On the rare occasions when I need to use mine on a train, I always sneak off into the corridor bit and whisper.

    Rosemary, either I'm getting very old, or everything's getting worse!

    Gail - yes. Odd, isn't it, that people on mobiles seem to think they're in a (soundproof) world of their own. If only they were!

  9. Travelling in train is good however if you travel in a plan, book a ticket to fly from the airport, it would also be a great travel experience.
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