Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Our Elsie

There's a public house in my town called Tanners but known locally as Elsie's. So it was rather sweet to spend the weekend in the canal village of Buxworth in Derbyshire at The Navigation Inn once owned by Pat Pheonix - also known as Elsie Tanner. Very peaceful location and I even forgave the current owners for their choice of Brown Brushed Cotton Sheets on the bed, colour-co-ordinated with Brown Curtains and Brown Towels. Most unfortunate.
We walked miles along the tow paths admiring the narrow boats. Very calming imagining chugging along canals at five miles an hour, cooking on a wood burning stove, chatting to the ducks, mooring whenever -especially near an Inn.
The journey home on the train back to the West Country was amusing by contrast. An over-dressed, over-jewelled, over-made-up mother and daughter made such a fuss over their seats. It took them from Birmingham New Street to Cheltenham Spa to settle down.
They'd reserved two seats to Plymouth but were dismayed to discover that all the seats, including their reserved ones, were facing with their backs to the engine. This is because Virgin train carriages are Airline Design. It does feel as if the train could be air-bourne any moment.
They fussed and faffed in the aisle for almost an hour, declaring they would be sick if they had to travel this way round. They demanded to see the Train Manager and cornered the poor bloke who walked along the train collecting the rubbish. I expected them to insist we stopped and moved the engine to the other end of the train. The only seats facing forward were the ones with a table, but there are very few of these and they were all occupied or reserved.
One outburst was the complaint that there was no room for them to read. They settled for a while and got their reading matter out of their numerous bags, handbags and cases - The Woman's Own. I resolutely stuck my copy of Virginia Woolf's Orlando in front of my face, even though I wasn't enjoying reading one word of it and secretly wanted to swap. I was desperate to giggle then and made eye contact with another woman and we both allowed ourselves to let go as she obviously felt the same as I did about this attention seeking pair.
They changed seats three times before one thoughtful passenger offered them her forward facing seat with a table. I think she offered to exchange with them for all our sakes rather than for the two women, who by now were bordering on histronic.
At last they settled down and I felt sorry for the Hotel in Cornwall who'd have to deal with them for the coming week. It had to be a week because I've never seen so much luggage - and that is saying a lot as I'm not known for travelling light.


Nogbad said...

Buxworth (aka Bugsworth) is where our school used to go for outdoor pursuits weekends so I spent some of my formative years there - before the canal was all cleaned up! lovely place in some lovely countryside

Buggles Balham High Road said...

Wow - they seem to want to call it Bugsworth again Nog and I even had a drink in the Buggy Club.

It is a lovely place and very beautiful. We're going again in a few weeks time for a Blues Live Gig with some Old Rockers.