I’m sitting on my train at Inverness station, just about to leave for Aberdeen, and it all feels a bit strange.
Firstly, when I arrived at the station it seemed busier than it nomally is at this time of day. Platform 1, the big long one where London trains depart, had a train sitting on it – too late to be the 0755 and too early to be the sleeper (and the wrong colour or design to be either).
Then when I looked at the departure board to check for my platform, there was a departure for Crewe on the board within the next few minutes, stopping at Aviemore, Pitlochry and then nothing until various stations in the northwest of England.
Odd, I thought. You can’t go to Crewe from Inverness, except on the sleeper, and even then it’s a London train.
I’d not heard any news about an afternoon service to Crewe being launched. If there was such a service, surely it would have been promoted? And why was it not stopping in Perth or Glasgow, or for that matter heading further south than Crewe? I’d have taken a picture if I’d thought to.
Time was pressing though. I went to the ticket machine to pick up my tickets, only to find it wasn’t working. Then as I turned to go to the ticket office, it wasn’t there – it had moved temporarily to where the tourist information office used to be.
Once I got my tickets I asked the guy behind the counter about the Crewe train.
“What, the sleeper for tonight?”
I explained what I’d seen on the board – was it a new service, or a charter, or a mistake?
The man said he had no idea and came outside the ticket office’s temporary home to look at the board. He still had no idea, and seemed more gently bemused than the bewilderment I’d have expected from a member of staff at a station that had just acquired a new service without him being told.
I rushed off to my train – two carriages rather than the usual three, and platform 4 rather than the usual 2 or 3 – and in the time it’s taken me to write all that, we’ve arrived in Nairn (my iPhone is great, but typing isn’t half a slow process).
What’s wrong with the world? If everyone had two heads or were wearing silver jump suits and carrying laser guns, it would be an alarming revolution. But the fact that things are just quietly, harmlessly, slightly out of kilter, makes it all so much more unsettling.
Should I, as the famous poster says, “keep calm and carry on” in the hope it’s all back to normal when I return home on Monday?
And here’s Forres already. That was quick.
Too quick in fact… I hope there’s not something slightly wrong with Time too…