A Victoria Sponge Lesson

Mike is back on the platform after a spell taking care of his mother. She’s an old stalwart and feisty woman. Bless her. She sent Mike back to the station with a tray of Battenberg, Maderia and Victoria Sponge with a Chelsea Bun for yours truly. She’s a good woman, is Mike’s mother; would give you her last penny if she thought you needed it.

Roland, Barry’s newbie thought he was well clever to be on Platform 9, Mike’s platform, a good half hour before Mike arrived. Said he was keeping Mike’s position, safe. We all know why he was there, and it wasn’t for the cakes. That in itself would’ve been a good enough reason, but, no, it was because Roland, over there, was writing down all of the unique train identifiers of the new Siemens rolling stock. The sod. He wanted to show off. He thinks being all pally with Mike is going to wash over? Mike won’t be fooled.

Sunday roast with Mother last weekend brought it all out in the open. Mother makes a cracking roast beef and potatoes; we’re not racists. She almost caused a riot by pretending she forgot the Yorkshire puddings and gravy. You could’ve cut the air with a knife. A strange sense of humour that woman, but I see where I get my cracking sense of humour from. Mike and his mother were sitting opposite when it came out, what that newbie, had been up to. My dear old mum spat out some of her white wine, back into her glass when she heard the news. Sunday is the only day she has one glass of white wine with the Sunday roast. She says, ‘If the good Lord above can have a rest day, so can I.’

Mike handed out the cakes at Platform 9 to the rest of our Hive. He kept the Chelsea Bun for me, of course, and when the Newbie put his hand out to receive a slice, Mike handed him a condensed copy of, Ian Allen’s train number book. That sliced right through his smug face. By his look, the embarrassment of admitting he’d been bragging about collecting numbers from buses, taxis and planes, put him back in his place. And, worse still, no Anorak. You can’t teach young people the simple things.

Vincent won our friendly competition the other week. He cleverly captured a number of train identifiers before my good self and Melvin. Now, we all know Melvin is a little compulsive and enjoys the art of debate, to put it politely. He argued the toss about one train identifier and a five-second difference between his time recording and Vincent’s time. In the end, due to the written facts, the award went to Vincent. Fair play and all that.

Next month is the annual National Railway Museum Awards in Yorkshire. We are making plans to travel up to Yorkshire for the night. I’m putting care plans in place to accommodate Mother’s needs. I’m tipped to win the Most Consistent Carriage Identifiers and Mike the Sensibly Dressed Spotter, and the Best Numerical Identifiers. Lucky devil to be nominated for both categories. Of course, the Newbie has been removed from the nominations because of the scandal surrounding the unique train identifiers of the new Siemens rolling stock. Shocking behaviour.

Some of the Hive are up in arms over this scandal and are calling for a town hall meeting to discuss the Newbie’s actions. I am conflicted; I see what the lads are saying, but I also have to uphold our constitution. It’s a sticky situation.

I best get myself started and prepare for the peak. It’s been a strange day, in the sense there was a young man loitering about the end of the platform. As I approached my position he made a hastened exit back to the cafe. I’m not saying he’s one for the Samaritans, might just be an interested person in Trainspotting. It’s an amazing hobby with a band of lads behind you. But with his European look about him, I doubt he’d be interested in our British past-time. You know, with Brexit and all that about to kick off.

– Phil

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