Beyond the Wall

I’m in the north of England once more – staying in the Holiday Inn for one night before returning home tomorrow. Five hours each way for a two hour demonstration of something clever to a room full of strangers. And that’s all I can really tell you about that part of the trip.

I can tell you about the journey though – which began with a walk to the local train station on perhaps the hottest afternoon of the year. Shortly after finding a seat on the train a businessman got on and sat adjacent to me. I wasn’t paying much attention to him, so didn’t notice him suddenly standing and fussing around with his bags – or rather, emptying them at high speed. When the smell of cider drifted across the train carriage I stole a glance, and saw a broken plastic bottle, and a tin of cider jetting drink through a tiny hole in all directions. I can’t imagine how he had managed to break the bottle, stab a hole in the can, or even why he had cider in the first place (I imagine his laptop smells lovely now).

After doing his best to clean up, he left the train at the next stop – I wondered if he was leaving in embarrassment at the scene he caused. Imagine my surprise when changing trains a little later in the journey when I saw him again. So he had got off the train in order to get in a different carriage, pretending none of it had happened. Some people amaze me.

The journey towards London was unremarkable, apart from the two businessmen sitting behind me having a loud conversation for the entire journey, despite signs everywhere saying “Quiet Coach”. As I said – some people amaze me.

Before long I arrived at Kings Cross, and noticed a train leaving for my eventual destination an hour ahead of my seat reservation. I decided to take my chances with finding an empty seat, and joined the sea of people watching the departure screens. While gazing around the crowd I spotted the co-worker I’m presenting with tomorrow, and almost wandered over to him – but decided he probably wanted some quiet time on the train as much as I did.

After a few minutes the departure board finally updated the platform for the train, and the mad rush began – with people hoping to bag the few unreserved seats. I walked past each carriage, looking through the windows at row upon row of reservation tickets sprouting from the top of the empty seats – approaching the final carriage I was on the point of resigning myself to an hour long wait for train I had a reserved seat on, but then spotted four or five seats, and made straight for them.

“Hello Jonathan!”

I looked up, and saw my co-worker pushing his bags into the overhead compartment alongside me. We ended up sitting next to each other, and in the end didn’t annoy each other too much – he worked on some documents (pretending to be busy) while I caught up on Mr Robot.

I desperately want to talk to somebody about Mr Robot, but don’t now anybody that watches it. The last few episodes of the second season have really hit it out of the park. I can’t describe any of it, because it will ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it. Just take my word for it – best TV show in years. There was a point in the first half of the second season when I nearly gave up on it, but am so glad I didn’t.

So. I’m now sitting in the hotel, typing this. I had a shower a little while ago and discovered the shower head is a little bit broken. I’m wondering if I should report it in the morning, or just let it go. When I discovered it, I couldn’t help remembering the time I spent three months living in a Hilton, and only had a room with nothing wrong with it once.

I just noticed it’s gone midnight. I should go to bed. Meeting co-worker at 8am for breakfast (he’s in the same hotel too).

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