A Long Day’s Journey into Brighton

Just time for a quick post before I have my Ovaltine. I travelled back to Brighton today by train from Cardiff, where I’d spent a few days either side of New Year.

The journey back to Brighton was a bit of a struggle, courtesy of heavy overnight rain and a later, more mysterious, problem with “lightning damaging equipment” – which must be an impressive piece of kit! Anyway, trains could only move at a crawl between Cardiff and Newport while a temporary signalling system was in place, ie a man standing on a ladder waving a flag. I think he’s still there as I write this.

An hour after leaving Cardiff the train made it to Newport (a distance of about 15 miles) and then gave up. We all got out and waited another half an hour for a train to London Paddington.

After that it all went reasonably well, and I got to London Victoria a mere four and a half hours after leaving my Cardiff residence. I was relieved to see a Brighton train due to leave at 19.36 which I got on, but since it was only four carriages long it was packed. I managed to find a seat in the section marked “Priority” which, naturally, applies to me.

Anyway I got back to the flat about 9pm, so the journey was six hours door-to-door. Not too bad, really, given the inclement weather, though I can’t help wondering why our railway network is so terribly vulnerable to the effects of rain? It’s not exactly a rare occurrence in Britain, is it?

Could we not divert just a small fraction of the money spent on glitzy new stations towards better flood protection and/or more robust signalling equipment?

Anyway, back to work tomorrow – much to do before next week when I’ll be travelling again, a tad further this time..

One Response to “A Long Day’s Journey into Brighton”

  1. “lightning damaging equipment”– which must be an impressive piece of kit!

    No, that would be “lightning-damaging equipment”. 🙂 Seriously, one of my favourite peeves is the lack of the dash in such compound adjectives (which, of course, does not apply to the original gerundive quote, which is correct). There is a difference between a big-science man and a big science man (well, not always).

    In other contexts, too, small punctuation can make a big difference. Two examples: “Let’s eat, Grandma” is rather different than “Let’s eat Grandma”. Also, there was the student who dedicated his thesis to “my parents, God and L. Ron Hubbard”.

    With respect to the last example, I used to avoid a comma before the “and” in a list, by analogy with the two-article list, where there is also no comma before “and”. However, the example above makes it clear that sometimes it is needed for semantic reasons. Also, if one thinks of punctuation not only semantically, but also (like Joyce) as an indication of where and how long to pause, then one will find that most people pause before the “and” in a list of more than three items, so for this reason a comma could also be appropriate. (Most people do not pause before “and” in a two-column list, so this is (almost?) always correct without the comma.)

    Of course, some people write in chat-room style when commenting on blogs. 😦 I actually use proper punctuation and capitalization (and, yes, the Oxford z) in text messages.

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