Monthly Archives: July 2018

Make the best of it

Now unless you have been camping in the depths of the engine shed you will have noticed we are in the middle of a heatwave.

Most people are enjoying it, but some are thinking of the end. To those on the railway who are looking forward to colder times, just remember that thought for next winter when you are either on a station, or working at Wansford in the freezing cold with the wind whistling round your signalling equipment.

We have a saying in the winter at Orton Mere and that is… Would you like a cold drink off the side or a warm one out of the chiller!

Think of that next winter….

A treat for Keith.

Today the bored chairman, sorry make that chairman of the board was seen flashing a £20 note in front of Arkwright.

I did not raise to the bait as I know full well that the only way he would have a note of that value would be if it was on loan, and I would hate him to spend it at Orton and then not be able to pay back the loan


Oh Excellent You Have Pepsi-Max In Stock.

When I started in retail back in the early 1970’s one thing I learnt very quickly was that you get an odd assortment of people through the door, and that appearance is no guide at all as to wether they will spend money or not. After all it was once said that the people who say money does not matter are the people with all the money!

All the above holds true at the railway, I am sure that odd balls have some magnetic attraction to not only the railway but especially Orton Mere Station. You will, if you have read this blog on a regular basis seen that the weird and wonderful visitors are often included in my postings.

You are probably also wondering what this has to do with the subject line of this posting. Well I will tell you. As part of trying new things at the station I have got in a case each of Pepsi and Pepsi-Max. We have often been asked for it and now we have it we are selling it. However, since having it in stock we have had four people come in for a cold drink, look at what we have, then mutter the immortal words, “Oh excellent you have Pepsi-Max in stock!” They have all then picked up a bottle of Diet Coke and bought it to the counter to pay. Before anybody asks, two have been male and two female and none of them have been blonde. Despite a bit of thought about their actions, their logic evades me. Still it all brightens up the day.

Another comment we have had recently in this ongoing heat wave from people entering the building is, “It’s hot today!” I was not aware that so many people have an O-Level in the obvious., after about the fifth person saying it I personally find it hard to either raise a smile or for that matter come back with a sensible comment.

Sometimes we get somebody in that quite brightens up the day, as happened yesterday. Tom and Sue my wife were helping me, with Sue out the back and Tom and I in the front line behind the counter. An old man appeared on a bike, which he left outside, his opening words were, “Would anybody like to see a card trick?” That was enough for me, I was out the back like a shot, claiming that Sue had called me. Now call me a coward but I thought Tom was the ideal Victim Subject for the card trick in question. I was right, some time later there sat a dazed Tom after the man had departed, he had wasted about fifteen minutes and spent nothing. I could be wrong but I am sure I detected Tom tremble slightly as he said “See you again,” as he departed on his bike.

Little things like this make the day pass better, they are for want of a better description amusing highlights. Funny though that the most strange people who visit we only see once.

Over the fourteen years at the station there have been more gems than I care to remember, for example one summers day a few years ago I was seeing a train out, I had two whistles round my neck and a railway tie on. I raised my arm to the guard, he waved his flag blew his whistle to the driver and off went the train. All this had been witnessed by a man and I presume his wife. He looked at my tie, then looked at me and asked, “Do you work here?”

Perhaps I should write an article on all the strange visitors over the years, one thing I know is that it would not be a short article. Anyway it all brightens a day and makes the world go round.

Sometimes you just know.

You occasionally have a couple of days when you just know it will be quiet. The odds are stacked against you and there is not a lot you can do about it.

Take this weekend for example.

Lets look at what we were up against today.

England World Cup Match starting at 3pm
Wimbledon Tennis
British F1 Grand Prix qualifying
Local dog show at the show ground
Hot humid day with temperatures approaching 30c
Diesel main service due to fire risk

I mean it’s a pretty formidable list to be up against, and there is not a lot you can do about any of it.

You could argue of course that you need to get the maximum out of the customers you do have, the snag with that is that you have to have the customers to start with.

Today we had a 100% success rate and sold something, be it a ticket or ice cream to everybody that walked through the door. But before you get carried away you must remember that the number we actually had visit was not exactly high.

Now this I can understand, given the choice I would not have ventured out today, I found it far too hot and humid, there was a breeze but it was nothing to get excited about and did little if anything to cool things down.

We shall see what tomorrow brings, as long as it brings more than just heat and humidity.