Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Em....Interesting Journey

Our feathered friend here is standing underneath the bird table in kirkcudbright and has clearly been distracted from his meal. Actually he's staring at me with some disbelief as I'm leaving the house with my bag on my back to go to work. Haven't  I been watching the news over the last few days and heard the multitudenous tales of travelling woe? Apparently not! Actually I was on my way to work and was already leaving a day late due to the weather and, as journeys go, it turned out to be far from straight forward.
There was no problems what so ever on the way to Glasgow. Dumfries and Galloway appears to have had little snow and even over the hills and through Ayrshire you can still see the grass through the covering. As pictures taken through train windows go, these two on the way up to Glasgow turned out alright.

I just managed to catch a train a little before four in the afternoon, only because it was already late, and as we were leaving Glasgow the snow looked really quite luxuriant. By this time it was starting to get dark and there was a mist rising from some of the valleys just to help the sunset out a bit - sometimes things are just so ridiculously picturesque, they are almost matched by how reflective a train window can be.

Just after four I had a cup of tea from the trolly and thinking all was well with the world, I trundled my way through the snowy central Scotland . By the time we were nearly at Perth we weren't going very fast and then we going at all. The picture below is pretty much what our view was.

That remained our view for the next 5 hours, during which time another train arrived to try and save us and suffered a similar fate. To try and relieve the situation a little, the trolly did a round of the train and gave away it's contents free. Unfortunately it had run out of boiling water (used to try and defrost some vital part of the train (unsuccessfully)) - free Jaffa cakes are very nice but they're not a cup of tea.

After 5 hours it was decided that the train was well and truely goosed and another one was found to come and save us. It was driven down the southward track and carefully lined up so that a board could be put across between the two trains. All 200 passengers were then transfered across the board, into the second train and we then managed to get to Aberdeen without any further adventure.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good natured the general public can be when faced with a fairly large delay. There's usually somebody who'll cause a rumpus but that day he decided to stay at home.  Well done to the train staff, who also seemed to be doing every thing possible in the situation.

I should credit the picture ,left, to Mr Graham Menzies who emailed it to me and who also became our BBC correspondant for the day - by the wonder of fancy phones they had the story on their website before we had reached Aberdeen. Mr Menzies also tried to fix an annoying door with the skillful insertion of two British Rail leaflets but without much success.
By the time we reached Aberdeen our train was a little snowy.

As you can see below from the station clock, we managed to get to Aberdeen on the same day as we left.....just. We were at the time the second last train left running in Scotland - all the rest were broken down or stuck somewhere.

Just as I was getting off the train, I bumped into Jim, our ships medic, who unknown to me had spent the last 8 hours at the other end of the train. It was some company and navigational aid as we wandered round to the rooms booked for us by the company. Many, many thanks the the concierge, who provided us with a big plate of bread and cheese (we hadn't eaten for over 12 hours) and also directed us to the complementary beer that went with our first nights stay - what a nice man.

It was late on Sunday by the time we were eventually able to get offshore and the intervening days will be covered in following blogs just as soon as I get a chance. In the mean time just to complete the journey, here's a picture (from the depths of the lab computer) of where I am just now. In case you're wondering what's going on in the picture, every couple of days an oil tanker drives up behind us and takes away all the oil we've produced.

Here's a picture of our taxi.

And a view of the ship from an angle I hope never to see.


Rocket Man said...

I'd say those first two photos turned out better than alright, especially through the window of a moving train!

Sandy said...

Super blog Sandy, brilliant photos as well.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Great story. I found it interesting as I cannot imagine being stranded on a train, for so long, in such cold miserable conditions outside. Thanks for the ship pictures too as now I have a better picture of where you are when you are not here.

Sandy's witterings said...

Thank you gents,

Train windows are quite a scunner for taking pictures through and you see so much from trains too. I must have had the camera planted right on the window for these which is great if what you want is straight ahead.

I was amazed that it didn't feel like we were stopped for 5 hours - makes a difference to have some pleasant people around for company. (they kept the engine running so it wasn't cold at least)

Shundo said...

"Free Jaffa cakes are very nice but they're not a cup of tea" - never was a truer word spoken, Sandy. Glad you have survived the many adventures on the way to work. I guess it wasn't even the wrong kind of snow this time, just too much.

The Glebe Blog said...

That's a nice looking rig considering it started life as Anadyr, a Russian submarine tender ship.
Would it be named after our mountain in Sutherland then Sandy ?

Sandy's witterings said...

You're quite right Jim, We're named after the nearly a munro, Foinaven.