Travelling by train in most parts of the world is a relatively simple process. One buys a ticket, one way or return, and then turns up on time to travel. Not exactly rocket science I’m sure you’d agree. However, just like the Parisian air traffic controllers, the unions that represent some of the folk that work within our many and varied services connected with our rail networks often manage to coincide their threat of strike action to coincide with a public holiday. Why do you suppose that might be? Last weekend we went to London in one of the most bizarre, inconvenient un-21st century ways imaginable: all on my 60th birthday. It went a bit like this. We parked the car at Kettering station and had to catch a bus for Bedford to coincide seamlessly with a London bound train that would be waiting for our arrival. Forty five minutes later we duly arrived, walking from the bus into the railway station, up and down a couple of flights of bridge stairs to find our connecting train waiting. As we headed for what we anticipated might be a speedy and relaxing trip into London, we were told by three people in hi-viz jackets that the doors were closed and that the train was about to depart. We explained that this was our seamlessly connecting train, but they just shrugged their shoulders and looked the other way. We, and our fellow travellers, had little choice other than to board a much slower Thames link chuf-chuf that was sitting at the end of platform ‘forever’. This much slower mode stopped at every station imaginable en route to St. Pancrass International, a trip during which we found ourselves in amongst a dozen young men determined to enjoy themselves by drinking an entire lake of Lager, though I must confess to consuming a can of said elixir when all my hope of reaching our destination on time had long since disappeared over the buffer.