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Landlady: Trains and ladders ...
Over the past 13 years, I reckon I must have been to Hastings on business – if you can call hoovering the communal hallway business – more than 200 times on the train. Only twice out of those 200 times have I had to take a ladder with me. The first time, I was painting mine and Katy’s flat and needed the ladder in order to reach the very high ceilings. I seem to remember that the journey back to Brighton with my ladder and painting materials was fairly traumatic, due to my train being replaced by a bus. Infuriatingly, the bus driver initially refused to let me on with the ladder, which I had slung over my shoulder in the style of a very unglamourous handbag. It was not bothering anyone, apart from me, but he kicked up a fuss nonetheless.
This morning, having returned from a lovely trip to Marrakech last night, I realised that I had not cleaned the communal hallway in Hastings for over a month. Furthermore, I was about to be busy for the next fortnight and today was the only day I would have enough time to do it.
On this outing, I knew I also had to replace some of the lightbulbs and replace a couple of the lampshades that someone had pinched, although it beggars belief that someone who could afford a ladder would feel it worthwhile to ascend it in order to pinch someone else’s property. I therefore had to take my ladder.
I rushed, handbag ladder slung over shoulder to catch the 11.32am train ... which shuddered to halt just after Eastbourne in a very alarming manner. I could feel a replacement bus coming on.
After an hour and a half on the track and a further hour at the next station, the replacement bus arrived. Both the vessel and the driver were so old that I feared they may have driven me on an ice skating trip with the Brownies in 1972. The replacement bus was in need of a replacement bus.
Although the ancient driver let me on with no objection, it’s the last time I’m taking that evil, portentous ladder anywhere ...