Training Notes

Regular readers will know that I’ve become quite a fan of train travel over the last couple of years.

It’s more economical for long journeys, it’s better for the environment, and with the occasional exception less stressful than driving. For events like this weekend – where I’ll be going home after thirty hours without sleep – it’s also the safer option. I nearly always buy my tickets from The Trainline, and have always been impressed with their service. Until now.

I bought my tickets for this weekend a couple of months ago, as soon as I knew the event was definitely on – the sooner you buy, the better the discount. The ticket comes with train times and everything, and in some cases the ticket is only valid on the stated train. Earlier this week, I was checking train times for something else when I noticed there’s engineering work this weekend, and the train that departs at the advertised time doesn’t arrive in Banbury until an hour after the time on the ticket. Since I have to attend the pre-event meeting, this is pretty important: It’s no big deal, I’ll just get the earlier train, but it’s lucky I found out.

The thing is, The Trainline must have a record that they’ve sold me the ticket with this train time on it: They’ve got my postal address because they posted me the ticket, and they’ve got my e-mail address because they e-mailed me the booking confirmation. It can’t be beyond their ingenuity to set up a system so that when engineering works are notified, they cross-reference to see if they’ve sold tickets for affected trains, and e-mail any customers involved.

It won’t stop me using The Trainline again, although I can feel a dodgy letter coming on: it’s just annoying that their customer service seem to have a hole in the middle :-(

The other thing I need to tell you today, is that yesterday I had my Big Scary Eye Test: This is where the doctor sends you a letter saying “Ha ha, you’re going to go blind because you’re diabetic, and I’m not because I’m not, so there!”, and you have to go and have pictures taken of the back of your eye so they can do further horrible things if you’re showing the first signs of any problem. Anyway, last year was the first time I’d had it done, and while there was nothing to complain about, the lady who did the test seemed more of an equipment-operator than a patient carer: Yesterday I was tested by Reg, who seemed to understand much better that the lump of meat on the other side of the desk was a real person and not just a laboratory specimen. I had the pupil-dilating eye drops (that bit was still horrible), he took the pictures, and then he showed them to me on his laptop and explained what I was looking at. “I’m not allowed to tell you it’s all clear until I’ve analysed the results back at the hospital, but I can tell you that if there was a problem, we’d be seeing something here, and something else there, and as you can see, we’re not seeing any of those things”.

I tried to get him to e-mail the pics to me so I could blog them, but he wouldn’t. Meany.

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