Notes from a train journey in Middle England

>> Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Written whilst recently travelling to London by train...
I'm on my way to meet up with a group of friends for lunch; it's two years since I've seen some of them as they are now scattered all over the world, so I'm looking forward to it.  Plus, you know, it's nice to Get Out.
It's not been entirely plain sailing reaching the platform this morning; a contretemps with my younger son ('Yes, you are going to school today') briefly threw the whole trip into jeopardy, but I've made it.  Hurrah.  Not even the fact that the train operating company have, in their infinite wisdom, cancelled a coach on this service - my coach, with my reserved seat on it, of course - is going to slow me down. And in any case never fear, plucky travellers: they have relocated all allocated seats to another coach.
So far, so good. I find my new - correctly labelled - seat, and after an awkward moment kicking out the incumbent who had decided I wasn’t coming (as if), I settle in. All is calm until the next stop when a young Chinese couple arrive to claim their seats across the aisle. Seats that are already occupied by two much older Americans who have, they inform the rest of the carriage at the top of their voices, pulled their heavy luggage ALL THE WAY through the train due to the missing coach, and they are damned if they're moving again.
I won’t bore you with the full details of the following disagreement.  Suffice it to say that the other couple stand their ground to the extent that eventually another older (very British) gentleman, entirely uninvolved, cracks under the intolerable pressure of observing a Disagreement In Public Between Strangers, and offers HIS (reserved) seat to the arrivals.
They refuse his kind offer; they have a reserved seat, after all: it's up to the illegal occupants to move.
The illegal occupants are having none of it.  Instead, they announce ever more loudly that they are not shifting.  It's shocking, apparently, that this should happen; that they should be asked to move.  Their opponents agree; yes, it is.  But those are still their seats, and they would like to sit in them.  
This proves even more painful to Party #3 (the older British Gentleman - keep up)  who repeats his offer, finally playing his trump card by stating loudly that Everyone In The Carriage is being upset by this display.  The new arrivals appear not to care, but at this point the traveller in the seat cracks and agrees to move.  He and his travelling companion huff and puff as they gather their belongings and then trundle truculently away down the aisle, in search of satisfaction from whichever unfortunate train guard they can find.
Twenty minutes pass, with no sign of them.  All is calm. I’m guessing they’ve either been upgraded to First, or been so rude to the staff that they've thrown off the train...

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