This morning I got on the 0856 at Exeter St Davids, due to arrive in Reading at 1050 for a connection on to Oxford and a job interview at midday.
Everything was going smoothly as we left the station - okay, we were a couple of minutes behind schedule at Tiverton Parkway, but on a High Speed Train you can catch that up on the run across to Paddington - but just before getting to Taunton, we pulled to a halt. Ten minutes later, the train manager informed us that there was a fault with the train, they were investigating, and they didn't yet know the likely result. I texted Matt and told him the likely (expletive) result was that I'd be (expletive) late for my (expletive) interview.
Fifteen mins later, we'd at least got going again, but the train manager had informed us that the brakes on one coach were overheating and as such unsafe. But we weren't to worry; they'd be turned off, disengaged and we'd just run 10mph slower instead. About a quarter of an hour on, we got to Castle Cary station, waited for a little longer than was strictly necessary, and got underway again.
For about 400 yards. This time, after another agonising wait, we discovered there'd been a safety cut-out in the power car. That meant, aside from the fact that we were already running 35 minutes late and crawling along, that we'd be limping our way towards Westbury - not a scheduled stop - for some checks and repairs.
On leaving Westbury, notified that the train had been fully checked/repaired/fixed, we were told that the crew were hopeful that the rest of the journey would run 'as normal', notwithstanding the fact that we were 73 minutes late.
Aside from the train manager had forgotten the fact that we were now horribly out-of-sequence and would be having to wait at Pewsey, Bedwyn, Newbury and Reading West, someone obviously hadn't told him about the 20mph speed limit along the line - an announcement that dissolved Coach E to despairing laughter.
We arrived on Platform 8 at Reading Station at 1229, a full 99 minutes behind schedule. Fortunately, I was able to walk straight on to the 1240 train direct to Oxford that was waiting on Platform 7, and then hop in a Taxi at Oxford that took me to the school with 7 minutes to spare before my rescheduled interview time of 1330.
That didn't take into account the fact that my will to live had been so spectacularly drained, and never got around to either thinking about or caring about the interview. The result was that I was so completely relaxed that I gave a great account of myself, and have been asked back on Thursday for the final stage of the interview process.
Better still, they're paying expenses.