Richmond – Norbiton – Kingston – Richmond
Another short journey, this time on the local Kingston loop round to Norbiton. (Sometimes the only way to fight with the NHS is face-to-face). Although this station is unmanned, the guard was good enough to get me off without incident.
Unfortunately Norbiton doesn’t have step-free access to both platforms, you have to arrive at the platform from which you wish to depart. Coming back again therefore required a bit of a detour to get to platform 2 where the train and I arrived simultaneously. The guard pulled out all stops to get me on the train, which I confess, I felt a bit guilty about as I was only going to the next station three minutes away, so he ended up getting me off as well.
After making some essential purchases, and donuts, I dashed to Kingston station for the trip home (see postscript). Again the train and I arrived onto the platform at the same time, and this time it was the platform staff who pulled out all the stops to get me on it.
Between them, the relatively small efforts of these two guys gave me an extra hour in my day which I would have spent otherwise waiting for trains. The gift of time is very precious when you have so little to spare.
This blog is about journeys on public transport, but the ever present vehicle which usually goes unmentioned is my wheelchair. Usually, it plays no significant role of its own but unfortunately today it did. Stop reading now if you’re an animal lover.
In the twenty years I’ve been using a wheelchair, with one exception, animals have, for our mutual safety, been bright enough to stay out of my way. I’m large and relatively slow moving but this wasn’t enough on this warm Kingston afternoon to distract the attention of a pigeon who was much more interested in propagating his species with a lady pigeon, who wasn’t quite so keen on the idea.
In his desperate attempts to sow his seed, and her equally desperate attempts to escape, the pair of them were bouncing around the pavement like an avian pinball machine. Unfortunately, as I dashed to catch the train this heaving, seething mass of feathers chose that moment to land directly in front of me. Even a wheelchair has a stopping distance, and there was only going to be one consequence to this testosterone-fueled collision. Although the object of his desires escaped unscathed, unfortunately Romeo ended up wedged under my front wheels just briefly before being terminally squashed. The ultimate coitus interuptus?