17 June 2008

May I?

(Tuesday 17 June) A Quorum Training day today: Introduction to Copyright, a nice easy course that I can deliver off the top of my head - not the greatest in-depth exposition, but spread over six hours it is superficial enough for me to breeze through it without thinking too much. The delegates usually seem happy (and today I ended up with all positives on the appraisal forms and "excellents" overall, though there were only two in the audience).
But getting there was another matter. The radio warned of problems with the trains at Didcot, and the train operator's text message alerts told me that just about everything "may be delayed or cancelled", which is about as much information as it now gives. (And what about this use of "may", when "might" is what is intended? Or are they just giving themselves permission?) Then another SMS told me that they were all OK, which was manifestly not the case when Hilary dropped me at the station. However, given three pieces of information saying what you don't want to hear and one telling you the opposite, which of us would not go with the minority view (especially if it were the most recent)?
Patient staff members were trying to convey useful advice to passengers, based on the scant information at their disposal. Tickets would be honoured on the Chiltern Line, they said, which helped a little, because when I approached a Pryors taxi to take me to Reading the driver told me that was closed too. I found one volunteer who also had to get to London that morning (most seemed to have decided to work from home) to spread out the taxi's carbon footprint and we headed for Haddenham and Thame Parkway (or is it the other way round?).
There was a delicioous irony about the worst train operator serving London commuters encouraging its customers to experience the best.

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