Yellow socks and a crush

Commuting. You have to love it. No, seriously, you have to. If not, you leave.

I pondered this earlier when wedged between the armpit of a rather handsome man (he smelt of lovely aftershave too – would it have been wrong to mention this to him?), a middle aged lady, two young men (one rather smiley and the other behind me so I could only hear him) and a young woman. How we all managed to occupy a space of about one sq meter I don’t know, but it’s some special magic applied to the likes of the Jubilee Line at London Bridge.

Middle aged lady and I couldn’t help but laugh as we pulled into Southwark and no one wanted to get off. All we could hear was ‘for godsake’ coming from the equally crowded platform.

Eventually, as we pulled in to Waterloo, someone wanted to get out of the tin can and I had to force my way off, pushing smiley man out and to the platform, moaning as I went that I probably wouldn’t get back on. Smiley did what he obviously does best and smiled back at me. Encouraged by the eye contact of a fellow commuter I asked why we do this. He laughed and agreed and then, when the people had finished exiting the train, he waved me back on before anyone else. Thank you Mr Smiley.

I found this brief mutual appreciation of our hell from a fellow passenger rather soothing. Two stops later and I was even granted the gift of a seat! When I departed my train, I followed a rather jolly man with squeaky shoes and the most amazing socks. Yellow with black dots. I was mesmerized by these and quite disappointed that they weren’t there to entertain me while I was trying not to launch my bag into the sensitive parts of Mr Handsome from the Jubilee line. It’s these little things my friend, that keep you sane when wedged in a train/tube.

I found myself apologising profusely to another gentleman when I squeezed (ok, pushed) myself onto the Bakerloo line. I can’t help but apologise. It wasn’t his fault there was no room. Although having to spend one stop on tiptoes in order to not stand on some other poor man’s feet was, perhaps, a bit too much.

The other dilemma when commuting is hair. Men don’t tend to have this problem, but as a woman with long hair, it’s a nightmare. When you are squeezed between people, you are trapped. If the hair is down, you risk overheating. If the hair is up, you risk everyone around you getting a taste of your latest shampoo and/or hairspray when you turn. Or in my case, the latest frizz controlling product.

I was feeling rather pleased at Paddington having survived the tube part of my journey. More smiles headed my way as the guard at Platform 11 was trying to herd people to their correct trains.

The problem of knowing where your train will leave from, is when things change. He saved multiple people from missing the right one and mostly because he recognised them! Good work that man!

Worlds away

A holiday should be just that. Time away from the day to day experiences and a chance to recharge the batteries which are always taking a hit by the 9 to 6. My time in Devon has been all that and more.

Arriving on Saturday morning, we quickly unpacked and headed over to Brixham for their annual Fishstock festival. The event celebrates music, the sea and the Fish it offers to our plates. From the tasty demonstrations┬áby the Chef’s to walking around a Trawler and seeing the conditions they live in when at Sea.

Smiles all round as Andy is declared the winner
Andy and Richard compete in ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’. Smiles all round as Andy (Right) is declared the winner

It was the walk around the Trawler which really got me thinking. These (apparently) large vessels, take to the sea with the aim of bringing back food for the tables of the likes of you and me. It’s the perils they face that make it an expensive business, both for the equipment they have to maintain and the injury/loss of life that they face in the harsh unforgiving depths of the Ocean.

Climbing aboard the Barentszee, we were able to walk around the kitchen and living quarters of the crew. For anyone who has travelled on the Northern Line in London, imagine living in one carriage, the seats replaced with beds (two of them to one row of seats), a Kitchen and Bathroom and sharing with several other people(!)

As we made our way up some narrow and very steep steps, we found ourselves at the helm of the vessel.

The Trawler
At the controls of the Trawler

The screens above the Skipper’s seat dancing with data and maps to help them locate their treasure, keep them safe and warn them of incoming weather fronts which may be of concern.

Radar on the Trawler
Screens on the Trawler

The boat gently swayed as more and more people walked on and around the boat, some venturing on to the RNLI boat moored next to it. I couldn’t help but stare at the giant rig’s on the Trawler. Seeing them up close was a surprise, as they always looked huge, but you can’t appreciate them until you have been stood next to them.

Today, the wind is blowing and the sea is creating waves that are crashing on the rocks in the distance. I can’t help by think of those who are still going out to work though. The waves are nothing compared to what you can face in the open waters of the English Channel, but they still look impressive.

Our Fishermen go out, whether it be for the day or a week, in all weathers. No option to ‘pull a sickie’ if they don’t feel like it. They have bills to pay and families to support.

When I face the train pain of my commute or wake up feeling sorry for myself because I don’t want to go and sit in my office all day, I’ll remember them.

And to any Fishermen reading this now, stay safe and good luck for your next trip.