By the time we got past Chippenham on the 9.45 from Paddington last night the carriage was almost empty. The lager louts who had got on at Swindon had left the train, much to my delight, and all was calm. I sat there writing an article and across the aisle a mother and her young son chatted amicable. And then a clear smell wafted its way along from the gap to the next carriage, the very powerful smell of weed. The mother and I nodded at each other – we both recognised what was happening.
A couple of minutes later the smokers wandered along the corridor. A lanky fellow with glasses, greasy hair and wearing a suit lead the way laughing out loud. He looked as if the suit was not his normal gab. What do you call a weed smoking loser in a suit? The defendant. Behind him was a man with little hair, obvious tattoos, wearing a parker and clutching a can of cheap lager. The scowl on his face was an ugly one and he strode menacingly along the aisle. I made temporary eye contact and regretted it as his look said very clearly “what the f*** are you going to do about it?”
The answer, of course, is nothing. As I am reminded ad nauseam, First Great Western operates a strict no smoking policy and the someone like me would simply not consider smoking a Marlboro Light on one of its trains. I am used to the pompous H&S message repeated after every station as I try to sleep or write saying that if you see anything suspicious report it to a First Great Western train manager or a Policeman. But in reality there is no-one on board that train to stop folks not only breaking train bye-laws but the actual law of the land. It is all a pretence.
Law abiding nice people like me put up with all the silly rules. The trash at the bottom of society does not give a damn and do what they like and get away with it.
Perhaps it is time that First Great Western recognised this and changed the oft-repeated announcement to “First Great Western operates a strict no smoking of tobacco policy on all its trains but if you are a tattooed monster who wishes to take drugs (and probably has not even got a ticket) go ahead and do what you like because no-one dares stand up to you.”