Welcome to the land of Monty Python

Taking a while to fully recover from jetlag after the grand filial piety tour – not helped by a traumatic experience mid-journey at Heathrow Airport…

I have landed from the US and met up with someone on a separate but coinciding itinerary as previously arranged – an amazing feat in itself, given the number of different airlines, departure points, terminals, and computer/terrorist horrors that could have screwed up the plan. We are about to buy bus tickets for a stay in Stonegallows, England, before resuming our respective travels.

We approach the bus company counter, staffed by a young blonde lady.

“Two open returns to Stonegallows, please.”

The young lady, apparently Swedish or Polish (ie polite, hard-working and efficient), clicks on her computer and tells us that it will be 142 pounds please, which sounds a bit pricy to those of us accustomed to CTS cross-border jaunts, but no matter. She then prints out two tickets – one for a pair of people to go, and one for a pair of people to come back.

This won’t do. We will be returning to Heathrow on different dates.

Miss Scandaslav gets a bit flustered, and (rather recklessly) seems to hint that this is somehow my fault. I take a deep breath and try to be patient. Maybe in her native language “two open returns” means “two open returns on identical dates in both directions”.

She has to phone her boss to resolve this immensely challenging problem and issue two open return tickets in which the ‘return’ bits are both actually ‘open’. And she warns that there may be an extra re-booking charge and/or a fare adjustment. I give her a vaguely menacing raised eyebrow (in honour of Roger Moore, who had died just the day before). Meanwhile, we stand aside so she can serve other customers.

After some long minutes, her boss calls back with hyper-complex instructions, and she starts clicking and tapping on her calculator and re-printing four tickets, allowing both me and my companion genuinely ‘open’ returns. She says we must pay a few pounds extra for the re-arrangement. But, before I can leap across the counter and strangle her, she announces that she must now pay us back some money. In fact, the bus company is reimbursing us around 60 pounds, which she counts out and hands over. So I calm down, and thank her.

As we leave, I am tempted to line up and make another change to the tickets – maybe get even more cash back. But we have a bus to catch.

Outside, a few minutes later, we are about to board the bus. And Miss Scandaslav runs up in a panic. She thrusts a clipboard forward and pleads with me to sign a form to acknowledge receipt of the reimbursed money.

Obviously, none of it is her fault. But whoever decides fare structures at that bus company is deranged, and trying to make the employees and customers equally so.


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8 Responses to Welcome to the land of Monty Python

  1. Dave Spart says:

    This is capitalism you see. There is no room for people. You are just a number. You must fit in. And you are no longer in Hong Kong and a White privileged one. Poor love.

    But don’t worry, socialism is coming to the UK. In Government or out, it doesn’t matter. The goalposts have changed, the debate has changed direction. The Tories are looking worried, Boris is getting aggressive, Theresa is confused and all the rest of the dreary gang are flummoxed, sweating, transferring assets, talking to their accountants for hours. The many are going to bite the arses of the few.


  2. Sojourner says:

    “This is capitalism you see. There is no room for people. You are just a number.”

    No, that’s not capitalism, that’s the acclaimed British ITV series, “The Prisoner”, starring Patrick McGoohan, and first broadcast in 1967. A jolly televisual feast.

  3. gweiloeye says:

    The new fangled interweb thing is amazing…


    but yes you have to have a printout of the booking as they still living in the 1990s

  4. As his chosen pseudonym this time indicates, even Dr Adams recognises that his periodic rants increasingly resemble the parodies in Private Eye.

  5. Brian Spartacus says:

    [Taking the bait] George, George, George, the only socialism that the UK is heading for is national socialism. 100 years of social democratic forces have undermined the immune system of the community and generated an ecosystem of dependency on the false promises of politicians. Their commitments to catch us when we fall financially, medically and emotionally have removed the need to develop personal resiliency and self-sufficiency. They have created a set of impossible commitments of unimaginable scale leaving the so-called “developed” economies a whisker away from catastrophic financial collapse. To cap it all, their need to impose on the individual has led to a legal system and surveillance infrastructure ripe for the despot.

  6. Regina's O Face says:

    May I propose the return of the Diary ? If only to prevent Adams from smearing shit all over the site. Alternatively how about a weekly, web-based live action version ? Li Gong as Winky Ip, a random Kwok brother as the chairman, Trump as Odell. Perhaps Jacky Chan in whiteface as Hemlock.

  7. Boris Badanov says:

    @brianspartacus – you friends with Steve Bannon and Marine Le Pen?

  8. Brian Spartacus says:

    @Boris, I’ve read about Le Pen but never heard of Bannon. Is he important?

    I tend not to pay too much attention to individual politicians because they just say whatever they think they need to say to get voted in.

    What’s more important is to understand the big picture of changes in the mood of the people because that tells us where the world is going.

    Politicians just reflect the world’s mood. So although they are often a highly visible indicator of the mood, they nevertheless follow the mood. They do not lead it.

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