As ever, I arrived at Paddington at 10.31 PM. It does not matter what time I leave Real Man in Clerkenwell my taxi always arrives just as the penultimate train of the day pulls out for Bristol Temple Meads. Then there is the dilemma.
I can hang around until 11.30 and catch the last train to Temple Meads. It will be full of English drunks and will stink of fast food. Gradually drunks get off the train but – especially on a Friday – drunks also pile on at Swindon and Bath heading to the bright lights of Bristol to get even more drunk. Does everyone born in Swindon have the intelligence of a 12 year old Orang Utan? The taxi fare from Temple Meads home is less than a tenner. But Paddington is a ghastly place to spend 45 minutes and the Mrs is not that impressed if I pitch up at 1.45 AM.
And so there is the 10.45 to Bristol Parkway. I get home just before 1 AM, the taxi fare at the other end is c£20 but there is less time to kill at Paddington. The real downside risk is that I fall asleep and this train carries on all the way to Swansea. I have more than once woken up to find myself heading into Newport, a truly dreadful place, and facing a £45 cab ride home. On this train there is also the stench of fast food but most of the drunks are Welsh. As such, while buying a coffee at the bar, I have just listened to three sheep shaggers discussing in a most animated fashion how to say “The toilet is broken” in Welsh.
I guess you learn something new every day.