November is upon us, and it has been ages since I had a whinge. All in the garden must have been rosy for the last month because I have had not inclination to sound off about annoying commuting experiences, however, November is a dark month in the commuting calendar, for it marks the start of the Flu and Cold Season. Not only must the beleaguered commuter get ready in the dark every morning (saving on electricity) but must also run the gauntlet and play the lottery of the Daily Germ Fest. One can innocently sit down to snooze or read one’s daily and then realise that one has put oneself into the firing line of someone’s cold or cough germs. The very best one can expect is that the person sitting beside you, opposite you or standing in front of you, possesses a) a handkerchief or tissue and b) has been trained up by their parents that sneezing and hacking over one’s fellow commuters is unacceptable behaviour. Noble as the inclination is to get off a sick bed and travel dripping with germs which one then expresses over one’s fellow passengers before expressing them over one’s work colleagues, it is not an inclination that I personally admire. Selfish as it sounds, I would prefer not to catch flu, or a cough and cold, just because someone is toughing out a bout of seasonal sickness.
November also marks the return of the dearly missed Water Jump down Station Path. It has been raining quite a lot recently, and this means that taking the short cut to the station is somewhat problematic. Black standing water, shin-deep, stretches right across the path and is attractively bounded on both sides of the path by deep, sloppy mud. Attractive as having soaking wet feet, tights, socks and trousers might be, the sensible commuter has only one option, to pass the Water Jump by hanging onto the ivy that hangs over the side of the corrugated iron fence on one side of the path, and travelling across it like a novice on an Army assault course. This is tricky if one is wearing court shoes, although the option of leaving a shoe deep in the mud only adds to the pleasure of the experience.
And yes, this is England in 2013, rather than England in 1013. If only I had a packhorse, I could ride in comfort to the station through the slough, and if only my fellow commuters had to carry bells like lazars, warning all within sneezing distance that they are contagious.