I was going on a course with some colleagues today; we were heading off for the briefing of GTPs and their mentors, which was taking place at Birmingham City University, North Campus. This is, unsurprisingly, on the North side of the city which is not the easiest part to get to even in good weather. I’d arranged therefore to car share with a colleague; there was still a lot of snow around and whilst I didn’t mind the idea of driving, I knew I’d feel more confident with company.
I got home from work last night to find that my mobile phone, which was of course where my contact numbers for my car-share colleague were, was not in my bag. I remembered last seeing it on my desk at work, and I’m pretty sure that that’s where it remains. Thankfully, my colleague checked her email last night and we were able to make contact and plans, and we were all set.
Then, overnight, came the snow. Loads of snow. Snow on top of the snow that hadn’t cleared since last week. Snow which was going to make our drive through the city even more unpleasant. So, we spoke and arranged to meet at the station, which is near her house, and we’d get a train into Birmingham, another out, and walk the rest of the way to our destination. No probs.
I left the house in plenty of time and arrived at the station. I was at first delighted to find that there was plenty of parking. I turned into the empty car park and… nothing. Just couldn’t get the car up the ramp, so reversed off and started to drive away. At that point I saw my colleague across the road and waved her over. Another change of plan was agreed; drive the car to hers, walk back to the station, and get a train into Birmingham, another out, and walk the rest of the way to our destination. No probs.
Which we did. The train was packed but the connection was fairly quick, and we were starting to feel fairly happy that we’d get to where we needed to be on time. Neither of us are regular users of public transport and so we were trying to be super-observant, and we listened carefully for the announcement that we were at the correct station. When we heard the stilted electronic tones of the recorded announcement mention the name of our destination we got off the train to find that we were at the wrong place! We needed to be at Perry Barr, and all the signs said Hamstead!
“Isn’t this Perry Barr?” I yelled across to the guard on the train.
“No love,” he replied, “that was the last station.”
“But the announcement on the train just said this was Perry Barr. We need to be at Perry Barr!”
“Ah. Don’t trust the robots!” And with that he laughed, and the train started moving away.
We were by this time freezing, frustrated and running out of time, but we caught a train back in the opposite direction and finally reached Perry Barr with just a few minutes to spare. It didn’t take us too long to find the right part of the University and we were pleased that we were almost the first to arrive. The course got underway and went without a hitch, and finished a little earlier than planned as the snow was still falling and people needed to get home to places as far flung as Bristol and Northampton. It had taken us two hours to get there so it can’t have been much fun for people who’d travelled further.
The return journey was far less eventful, and by half four we were home, and glad to be. You can imagine how delighted I was to get home and read the Facebook status updates from colleagues who hadn’t been on the training – oh yes, they’d had a wonderful day, having been told at 7.40am (about the time we were walking back to the station after dropping off my car) that school was closed and they could go home. I am somewhat appeased by the fact that (a) I can for once take the moral highground and (b) I can have a lie in tomorrow as school will once again be closed. And, geek that I am, I also rather enjoyed the day, despite its stresses and the untrustworthy robots.