GNER was on good form today apart from one unexplained stop at Durham Station which ended with an an anguished tannoy announcement:' Guard to speak to Driver immediately' 'Oh no' said a passenger 'Trouble. Here we go again' (meaning here we don't go again) But we did. No comment, no inconvenience regretted-but 15 minutes late is not an inconvenience-its a bucket full of Brownie points.
We had one of those Sword of Damocles moments (three and a half hours worth) in the form of a large unwieldy suitcase in the rack over the seats in front of us. Put there, (despite the remonstrations of his wife) with some difficulty by a blunt Yorkshire man at King Cross who obviously did not want to run the risk of having his possessions stolen by some effete southern rag head from the rack at the end of the carriage while his back was turned. He managed to balance it with more than half of the case protruding over his head-actually it would have been his wife rather than him who would have been clobbered had it fallen, like the gentle dew from Heaven, on the place beneath.It trembled on a few occasions as the Mallard reached its top operating speed, but stayed put-but the strain of watching it forced us out of our seats into the Dining Car to enjoy triple decker BLTs. Surprisingly he did not leave the train at York-must have been an exiled Tyke (The Borders are full of them) and he was still snoozing gently when we exited at Berwick. His wife remained rigidly on guard expecting the worse at any moment, quite unable to enjoy the Leeds edition of Hullo magazine
They could, I suppose, have moved across the aisle as the carriage emptied. But Albert and his missus had paid for those seats, had their reservation slips on them and that, bloody well, was that.