Monday 16 July 2007

It's pronounced "Baytch".

I had a horrible morning. It was a Monday, for starters, and in a truly unoriginal way, I didn't relish it at all. Plus I was just feeling down generally - post holiday blues, I guess. So I decided to go into work a little bit late. But even on the train in, I was feeling despondent at another day earning minor ducats in a thankless task. What could possibly cheer me up?

It's Bache, the second to last station at one end of the Wirral Line, and the place where I have been disembarking for work the last year or two. Though I work in Chester city centre (the real end of the line - in so many ways), I have a single stab at physical activity every day; I walk the mile and a quarter from Bache station into the city. It takes me twenty minutes, and I usually end up all sweaty, but I like pretending it's proper exercise.

I was going to leave this one until later on. Firstly, it's unbelievably easy for me to get, since I'm there every day. Secondly, it's in Cheshire, and so isn't part of Merseyrail proper (though it is owned and run by them) - please note the lack of yellow M's on the sign. Third, and most importantly, it has no ticket office.

Now call me a sentimental old fuddy duddy but I think a train station should have a ticket office. A public transport area without one is a bus stop. A ticket machine on the platform is no replacement; I want a ticket office, with a man behind the counter with unfeasible sideburns and ruddy cheeks smiling as he charges me an ridiculous fee. A waiting room would also be nice, but in our hoodie infested times, where "waiting room" is another way of saying "public urinal", I understand this may be wishful thinking.

I finally caved in because Bache gave me an opportunity to get my first ALF, and it's a goodun:

A GIRAFFE! How fabulous is that? Alight here for wild animals! And it's such a cute little Attractive Local Feature as well. Look at its ickle brown eyes!

Reflecting on it I may have actually shot my load a bit early, so to speak. I very much doubt that there will be many other ALFs that can meet the Bache Giraffe's high standards of cuteness. Certainly I think Walton (most prominent local feature: a prison) will have problems competing. In fact, now that I've written that, I'm wondering what they do have on their ALF board - a portrait of Ronnie Biggs? Prison bars? Those pyjamas with the arrows on them? Maybe they just don't mention it. Or maybe it's like Birkenhead Park, and they just go for something surreal, like the local abbatoir.

(I have just realised that it looks like you can get a train to Chester from my ear. Note to self: try and position yourself a little better next time).

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