Sometimes I encounter opinion regarding my blog. Well, it is there to be read, and I'd rather people formed an opinion good or bad than simply shrug and go back a *or* video. Mostly I hear how rubbish it is. Funny how the loudest people are those who want dismiss or abuse. No matter, but I do understand that not everyone wants to hear the latest whinge or moan from me. So before I whinge and moan some more, here's the fun bit.
There I was, bored and miserable, sat on a bus bumping and swaying in unison with all the other passengers, when this old chap sat down next to me and started whinging about how bad the world was today. I agreed with him. The thing is he turned out to be an old railwayman, an engine driver, a man who had stepped onto the footplate of Castle class locomotives for the Great Western Railway in those good old days when coal was king and everyone employed when they were fourteen. He was one of those drivers who deserted the railways en masse when steam finally gave way to diesel. No way was he going to drive one of those 'tin cans'. Funny how much attachment people have toward steam engibnes. I do. The blessed things almost have a life of their own, like big animals that need constant fettling and feeding.
"I'd like to get some of those yobboes on the footplate" He growled, clearly full of despair at our nations youths, "That'd teach 'em a few things".
Sadly it wouldn't. I agree that working on a steam engine footplate, the control cabin if you will, is no easy option where steam engines concerned. I remember hitching a ride on a preserved line in New Zealand, and even for a little locomotive, the physical effort was impressive. never mind a much larger express locomotive gulping down several tons of coal per trip. Buit the sad truth is it would only be another job to avoid. Bad backs, migraines, too many interesting tunes on their I-pod, or perhaps just a strange tendency to shrug their shoulders would result. Aside of course from injuries inflicted by a coal shovel wielded by an irate driver I suspect.
But I admit the conversation was fascinating. He told me about an accident on the railway. A train driver had misread a semaphore signal thinking he was cleared for mainline operation. The fireman realised that he'd made the mistake but by then the locomtive had accelerated to 25mph and derailed on the points, taking with it six wagons from Wills Tobacco factory. "Cigarettes everywhere" He said. "Absolutely everywhere..."
I also discovered the sad tale of a canadian flight sergeant in World War Two, who was flying near the Vickers-Supermarine factory that used to be at South Marston. At low altitude he turned and a wing fell off. No chance of survivng that. Apparently his family still cross the Atlantic regularly and visit a small memorial to him. Gone but not forgotten.
I happened to catch Prime Ministers Questions before I went to work this week. There was Cameron, happily pulling the arms and legs off Mr Milliband, who sat there shaking his head. They've almost become a comedy duo. What I didn't find funny was Cameron crowing about how unemployment figures are down. Of course they are. People are being forced off Jobseekers Allowance by any means fair or foul and forced onto a hardship grant which the figures don't count. That's what they did to me. I went from trusted and hard working jobseeker to petty fraud and dishonesty in one fell swoop. An entire months dole money refused. Suddenly no-one believed my submissions. My evidence was unacceptable or 'not realistic'.
For thre love of God, Cameron. Go. Your plan is only working because not enough people have cottoned on why you're able to claim it is.
Beggar Of The Week
Finally I'd gotten to the bus station and shivered as I strode through an empty town centre on my way home. It was perishing cold, and after sitting on a bus for half an hour, I really felt it despite wrapping up warm.
"Hey mate, you got a cigarette?" Said the down-and-out in a shop doorway. Sorry , no.
"Eff off then". He replied. One wionders how he expects any sympathy with that attitude. Suit yourself buddy, but stay under that cardboard, it's a cold night. By the way, does David Cameron know you're not earning a living?