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The Man slumbering outside Temple Meads at 4.30 AM – my hard call for today

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 6 January 2014

The cab from V-cars was early and the streets were empty and so I found myself outside Bristol Temple Meads at 4.25 this morning with 22 minutes to kill before the departure of my train.  As the other passengers scuttled in I delayed. Once on the train I have no excuse not to sub Zak Mir’s book and so standing awkwardly in the cold seemed a rather attractive idea.

The only chap not to scuttle in slumped and snored on one of those ice cold, terribly uncomfortable metals benches, with lots of little holes designed to leave bumps on your bottom, that Network rail is so keen on. He looked a tad rough and was taller than me and rather muscular but he was wearing a suit of sorts. 

On that basis I though he was more likely to be a passenger than a drunk old tramp and so wondered if I should wake him. If I do nothing he might miss his train. He can’t blame me but I know it will piss him off. If there is one thing worse than getting up at 4 AM to catch a train, it is getting up at 4 AM to catch a train and then missing it. But what if he turned out to be a violent drunk who lashed out? The British way is, I suspect, to show polite indifference and walk on.

Hmm, I could always walk on and sub Zak’s book. If he did beat me up and hospitalise me that would be a three day excuse for not subbing Zak’s book. That thought swung it for me. It was a win win.

And so I shook him gently. He snored on. And then a bit more aggressively stating “first train mate”. He awoke. He was indeed thoroughly pissed but seemed grateful as he wheeled in circles, tottering towards the Station.

A good deed to start the day…and now to Zak’s book. Aaaaaaagh

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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