Home > Scotland, Travel, Uncategorized > Welcome to the UK

Welcome to the UK

Must blog this to get it out of my system. Travelled from working in Bergen today to join friends at a stag weekend in St Andrews. Plan was: fly to Aberdeen, train to Leuchars, meet friends driving from Glasgow at a similar time; sorted.

Flight went like clockwork. It was a small Jetstream; felt like clockwork. That’s unfair; I’ve no complaints about that bit.

Aberdeen airport; got to get to train station. I study all the signs; no help. A diagramatic sign in the corner shows that the number 80 bus shuttles to Dyce railway station. Aberdeen airport is at Dyce for those who don’t know. Through the pissing wet rain to the bus stop. Sign says the number 80 is 3 an hour. Lots of folks already waiting; looks good for an early pick-up. 15 mins pass; no bus (of any description). Then the 777 apears. No good to me, but notice that the sign says the frequency of the 777 is 2 per day. How lucky are we to even see it. Not many mortals can make that claim. 20 mins later (that’s a total wait of 35 mins in case you’re not counting) the 80 arrives. A couple of travellers in front of me with a £10 pound note as the smallest currency they have find it’s exact fare, no change. The fare’s £1.50 by the way. This is an airport shuttle bus at an international airport FFS. Here is where hindsight rears it head. Get a taxi to Aberdeen station. I had that thought a few times while waiting for the bus, but aren’t we all likely to (wrongly) assume that the longer you wait the sooner the bus will come.

Anyway, I’ve paid £2 for my £1.50 fare. “I’m just the driver”, is the response when I complain. Kind people, obviously not local, had paid the fare of the loose change strapped couple. We wend our way through the industrial estates of Dyce. Whilst we’re stuck in Friday 5 o’clock traffic we find we’ve gone the wrong way and should have missed the traffic jam. We find out this gem because a regular traveller is pointing out the error to the driver. He cites the map of the route stuck on the outside of the bus in his argument. It’s too late now to make any difference and my resigned fellow passengers have an empathy for the emergency fill-in driver who was told to go this way. Anyway, everyone has missed their intended train and there’s plenty time till the next.

We eventually get to (the unmanned) Dyce station and while we’re all queing at the single ticket machine behind a girl with a big sheet of paper, a mobile phone wedged between shoulder and ear and speaking a foreign language, someone notices that the “On Time” against the 18.06 to Aberdeen has changed to “Cancelled”.

I trudge (you knew I was going to use ‘trudge’, didn’t you?) with the rest back to the main street to get a bus. I ask a local for a taxi number, which I call to get “all booked, sorry, not taking any more bookings tonight”. “Can you tell me any other taxi numbers, please?”. “No sorry, don’t know any others”.

So, boarding a bus to Aberdeen, I ask the driver, “Do you go to the Railway Station?”. “Bus Station”, he says with a tone that suggests that I’m a fuckin’ moron and where else would you expect. Noticing that my initial question has not revealed to him that I’m a stranger needing some assistance, I persevere and try again, “so you don’t go near the Railway Station, then?”. “Bus Station’s at the Railway Station”, he says. Once seated, I’m not surprised to notice that the big digital clock at the front of the bus is still on BST. Nearly 2 weeks since the change, but hey, time isn’t important to a bus company is it?

I’ve an hour to kill before my train now, fortunately. The new Union Centre adjacent to the station just irritates me with it’s poor signage, malfunctioning automatic doors etc. etc. Maybe my tolerance is at such a low point, that even the most trivial annoyance really grates. You’ll not be surprised to learn that it took 3 attempts to get my tickets from the Fast Ticket machine. I was the one this time juggling a phone with the reference on, spectacles, wallet with credit card and rucksack.

It’s now 3 and a half hours since I landed in Aberdeen, I’m on a stationary train just south of Laurencekirk waiting for the northbound train to come up the single track line ( due to landslip …… 5 fuckin’ days ago).

I’ve got Monty Python on the iPod. That may help ….. Z

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Categories: Scotland, Travel, Uncategorized
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