There are some days when you just shouldn't leave the house.
I had everything planned. I spent an afternoon working out how to visit three stations on the West Midlands Railway map: Tamworth, Willington and Wilnecote. The last two get only a couple of CrossCountry services a day, so the timings had to be precise to be able to collect them. I worked out a way of doing it that meant I would finish my day with a train from Willington to Birmingham at 17:17, getting into New Street at 17:55 and allowing me to dash to get the Liverpool train home at 18:04. It was a tight connection but I thought it was perfectly do-able, so long as I could make it across the station in time, and I thought I'd got the geography of New Street sorted enough to be able to manage it.
I bought all my tickets and loaded them into the CrossCountry app. Another e-mail came with the confirmation, warning:
Due to the continued issue with train crew availabity... there will be disruption from Saturday 26 March - Friday 1 April. We will be running a normal timetable, but there may be some short notice cancellations and fewer carriages...
I could live with that. It was a risk but fair enough. The morning of my trip out, I went to the CrossCountry website to check that my trains were still running. I was surprised to learn that my 17:17 train no longer existed. Instead, there was a train twenty minutes later. Those of you paying attention will realise that meant I would miss my London Northwestern train home.
I sighed and went into the customer chat and they confirmed, yes, the timetables had changed, but don't worry: your ticket is still valid. Well, your CrossCountry one is. I was stuffed with the London Northwestern one and because it was an advance ticket, there was no refund. Because I like to be sure I can get home - I'm funny like that - I went into the LNW app and bought a ticket for the next train after the one I should've got. Then I headed to Lime Street for my day out.
(Don't worry, I'll stop complaining in a bit. Bear with.)
I had nearly an hour to kill at New Street before my train to Wilnecote so I wandered up into the shopping mall to have a poke round Foyles. I bought a couple of books, thanked the Lord there wasn't a Foyles in Liverpool or I'd have no money left, and went back down to see if they'd got a platform yet for my train.
The word Cancelled lit up on the departure board. I rushed to Twitter.
There are a few pertinent facts to be dealt with here. The first one is that Andrew Mitchell is awful, but he's a Tory MP so you knew that already. Secondly, having Henry VIII give you something in the sixteenth century isn't a card you can wave for another five hundred years. Peter Chardstock said I had a cute arse in 1995 but that doesn't entitle me to claim I have a cute arse until the end of time; things change, and since there's not a Royal palace or a castle or even a small flat where Andrew carries out his improper business in the Sutton Coldfield area, clinging onto that title seems a bit daft. You're not Windsor. Thirdly, and this is the most important point, who on earth gives even the tiniest of shits?