With the dust starting to settle following the EU Referendum we can begin to reflect on the result and divine from the entrails the future course of events. But first, an amusing look at the last month.
Oh! Mr Porter, what shall I do?
I want to go to Birmingham
And they’re taking me on to Crewe,
Take me back to London, as quickly as you can,
Oh! Mr Porter, what a silly girl I am.
Ja, Frau Merkel, kommen sie bitte hierher!
From there the German Managing Director caught the train to Brussels and connected with the Berlin express as she hastened back to the bunker in the face of mounting criticism. On her way through the concourse at Gare de Bruxelles Midi/Zuid she witnessed a mob of young people demonstrating at the Eurostar entrance. Realising they were English she avoided them and hurried on.
There was a public announcement over the tannoy; Bing Bong – The train now standing at platform two is the 20.16 Brexpress to London Saint Pancras, calling at Lille and then non-stop. There will be a slight delay as there has been a change of driver and train-crew. Will all passengers with checked-in tickets please proceed through security and passport control. Please wait in the departure lounge for further instructions. – Bing Bong.
As the passengers made their way through security they were harassed and heckled, especially the older ones. The young protestors were having a tantrum. It is so unfair, you oldies are destroying our future. You travel on cheap tickets and stop us from travelling. We want everyone to rebook. We don’t want to leave, we want Mussels in Brussels. We demand our human right to Belgian chocolate, they chanted. Everyone must travel for free and without passports. What about our Moules mariniere avec frites et mayonnaise?
At this point a Northern OAP snapped; Fish and chips with mushy peas are better for you. The Eurostar Youth (under 26) ticket is cheaper than the Eurostar Senior (over 60) ticket. And in any case you didn’t even buy a ticket in the first place, so its your own fault. An elderly clergyman joined in; Remember the Fourth Commandment.
That silenced the mob. Then amongst themselves, What’s the fourth commandment? Yes, but no, but yes! They then went off to start on online petition, calling for a rebook with 90% of seats reserved for youth tickets.
In the Eurostar departure lounges there was further disruption. The Business Premier lounge was a hive of discontent with most of the large-company directors wanting the departure to be reversed quickly in to an arrival, while the unacceptable-face-of-capitalism directors plundered the inclusive facilities. The Euro politicians wanted the gravy-train to continue. Some lawyers left the lounge and descended on to the track in front of the power-car, demanding the train-crew have a vote of their National Executive Committee before Brexpress departed. For health and safety reasons the Fat Controller at the Berlaymont switched off the power supply.
In the Standard lounge a Scottish hen party ignored instructions and occupied a carriage. They wanted it to be disconnected as they had met some charming men, all called Hercule Poirot, and they wanted to remain. Some Northern Irish passengers demanded that their carriage be attached to the Irish boat-train when it reached London, but they could not agree whether it should connect with the Belfast or Dublin ferry. The English passengers were calm but had a good grumble. They thought it would only be fair for the train to split in to two sets at Lille, with the front continuing to London while the rear proceed to Paris.
This was because many claimed they had been lied to. They had wanted tickets to Paris Gare du Nord, but had been sent to Brussels Gare du Nord. And to make matters worse Eurostar only went as far as Gare du Zuid and they had to catch the tram to Gare du Nord. When they couldn’t get any sense from the Flems and Wallys, they realised they were in the wrong country. They were then redirected to Gare du Centrale were they had been promised a connection to a train to Paris. Midi and Centrale was all the same to them. Talk about confused, it was only after they missed the train to Paris that they realised Gare du Midi and Gare du Zuid was the same station but with two names. [for the sake of disbelievers, this is true] Lied to and with broken promises, they were livid. Only a change of direction at Lille would satisfy them.
The passengers from Gibraltar were even more confused. Their party had booked the whole Standard Premier carriage and wanted to remain with the Scots. They changed their minds when a rumour started circulating. The Spanish Managing Director was demanding that their carriage be diverted at Lille and sent on from Paris to Madrid. However, he did not want the passengers. Faced with being stranded on the platform at Lille they demanded the British Managing Director reschedule Brexpress as a non-stop service back to London.
The Fat Controller said that everything must be done in accordance with the Rule Book, the Managing Directors must communicate through his office, and there must be no delay. As such he refused to switch the power back on. He was ignored as the Managing Directors tried to resolve matters through bilateral discussions. The Irish Managing Director agreed with his British colleague that the Northern Ireland passengers could travel to Dublin for free and without passports, before crossing to Belfast. The British Managing Director told his Spanish colleague to mind his own business and asked the French Managing Director for permission to send the Thunderbird rescue diesel locomotive through France to retrieve Brexpress. It only got as far as Calais. The French opposition train was causing problems so the French Managing Director was in a hurry to clear the track and free-up platform two at Brussels.
It was then that the Fat Controller phoned the German Managing Director to restore order. The Solution, she ordered was that Deutsche Bahn take over the whole European Rail Network and do, as the British say, a ‘Doctor Beeching’. The French Managing Director agreed that all the Managing Directors should meet and offered the use of a vintage railway carriage in a clearing at Versailles. And so it came to pass, they appeared to be doing something, but nothing happened. The Fat Controller was satisfied and as he exited the Berlaymont he hummed the Ode to Joy and thought it was wonderful how travel broadened the mind.
Meanwhile at Bruxelles Gare du Midi the tannoy rang out; Bing Bong – The train standing at platform two has been delayed due to problems on the line. We apologise to passengers who should keep their seats in departure until tomorrow, when the Brexpress will run at 20.17 non-stop to London with all carriages attached. Due to the power failure it will be hauled by the Titfield Thunderbolt and will take two years to arrive. – Bing Bong, Ding Dong.