Why do I Always get the Nutter?

Yesterday, for the first time in about 2 years, I was on a train. It’s a long story, but in summary it was because Katrina had been taken to hospital in an ambulance for YAPP (Yet Another Pregnancy Problem) and I had been with her. Hence I ended up at Winchester hospital with only public transport available to get me home.

Now travelling on train is bad enough at the best of times, but my train was delayed by 40 minutes, it was cold, wet and windy, I was tired (had had no sleep for 24 hours at this point) and I was still in shock. I wasn’t too concerned about Katrina, who was in safe hands – I was just stunned by having to pay nearly £4 to travel for 15 minutes.

Standing on the platform, I quickly spotted the nutter wandering around the platform, wearing rather large headphones, dancing away to himself / herself (I geniuinely don’t know to this day which one), wearing one of those anoraks only nutters seem to be able to find, and staring intently at people, while muttering to him/herself. As the train arrived, I spotted said nutter going into the third carriage and I quickly parked myself into carriage 5. Great – nice and quiet – one bloke watching out of the window, another asleep. Looks good to me.

But just as I was sitting there, trying to get my full £3.80-worth by admiring the scenery, a really shifty-looking, nervous bloke came in and sat down in the seat over the aisle. He seemed quite agitated, looking round continuously. Anyway, next stop was Eastleigh – about 7 or 8 minutes down the line. Just before we started pulling into the station, this bloke got up and wandered away. Which is when I noticed he had left his rucksack on the seat beside me.

It must have been a combination of tiredness and the fact I’d been staring at a “Don’t leave your bags unattended” sign for 50 minutes at Winchester that caused my mind to run riot. By the time we had pulled into Eastleigh, I’d already decided that it was up to me to evacuate the carriage if I saw him get off the train. With hindsight, I guess a local train to Portsmouth during the day is hardly a major terrorist target, but as I say, I was tired.

We pulled out of Eastleigh and he soon reappeared carrying a magazine. This left me in a slightly less-than-charitable mood towards him, which was further enhanced by his deciding to strike up a conversation. It went something like this:

“‘Scuse me – do you know how long it is until Fareham?”

“Sorry mate – this is the first time I’ve been on a train in about 2 years.”

“Oh. 2 years?”

“Yeah – don’t think it’s far though.”

So far so good – genuine question, with an honest, if slightly unhelpful answer. But don’t go starting further conversation please, I’m tired…

“It’s just I’ve got a driving lesson there.”

“Oh, right”

“You’re very limited on the type of work you can get, you know, without a driving licence.”

“I see”

“Don’t matter really anyway as I’m moving to Australia soon.”


(Pause, while I’m guessing he was hoping for me to ask questions about Australia).

“So are you on your day off then?”

“Nope. Supposed to be at work now.”

“Oh. Really?”

“Yeah – long story.”

“Oh” (quizzical look)

“Yeah – long story”

Two things I’m still not sure of: firstly, why he was learning to drive at Fareham if he was already at Winchester; and secondly, why bother learning at all if you’re going to Australia anyway?