I forgot that is the UK

Was just reading on the blog of Kimberley Larkin about how she had attended the ordination service yesterday, and was most amused by this section:

Afterwards, I was down in the (c. 1030!) crypt getting tea when a young man in a long red robe came up and introduced himself. His robe had a clerical collar and I automatically assumed he was a priest (and then forgot I was in a Church of Ireland cathedral and assumed he was wholly being friendly ;). He was from England and is one of the choir members (hence the medieval robes), which is all good and well but: the fascinating part was when he asked if I’d been to the UK. Yes, I said, a week in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland. He paused, puzzled. “Northern Ireland?” Yes, I said. “Oh, I forgot that is the UK.”

Thankfully this shocking ignorance of geography is not representative of the vast majority of the choir, and I shall be making enquiries to find out who this was.

Off the rails

Despite the very best efforts of National Express East Anglia to try and delay me on Tuesday morning, I did eventually make it Stansted Airport in time to catch my plane to Italy and join the rest of Christ Church choir on tour.

My timetable allowed me just over 3 hours before check-in closed, to make the 90 minute journey from Peterborough to Stansted. And I ended up needing every single spare minute. The train out of Peterborough was late arriving, and then got cancelled in Ely; throwing its passengers off onto the platform with little clue how to proceed. The next train then got us as far as Cambridge before that terminated too. And the third train was a good 20 minutes late leaving for Stansted – although it did manage to make it all the way to its destination.

In the end it took us a full 2 hours and 45 minutes to get there. And from some of the phone calls I overheard from my fellow passengers, some of them had completely missed their flights.

I was lucky, however, and made it with 20 minutes to spare. However, the whole experience probably took a couple of years off my life; what with the stress of it all.

In contrast, the two trains we caught in Italy itself (on the other end of the flight) both ran exactly to time – to the minute. And the Italian ticket inspector even waived the €50 fine we should have paid, when we failed to validate our train tickets before boarding.

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