Deciding to treat myself at the start of my journey into London, I booked a first class ticket on First Great Western.
Arriving on the train, I found my allocated seat was unavailable as it had a broken seat. My carriage was full apart from the disabled/wheelchair seat.
An unusually helpful train manager apologised for the broken seat offering me the disabled space instead.
Given that nobody else wanted the seat I accepted on the understanding that if it was required I would move carriages.
Some half an hour later, we drew in to Reading, the last stop before Paddington.
I was engrossed in a book I had brought with me, supposedly for tomorrow’s flight. For this reason I was initially unaware of the maloderous drunk making his was towards me from the train vestibule.
‘People like you make me sick’ he informed me. ‘There are disabled seats there for a reason’.
As he wasn’t entirely muntered, appearing to be a reasonable person with too many sherries on board, I tried to reason.
Explaining my seat was broken made no impact. ‘But your not disabled!’ he insisted.
I then explained the train manager had offered me the seat and I would vacate it if it was needed by a disabled passenger. Still no change in his position.
‘But your not disabled!’ he insisted. ‘The train bloke (presumably the manager), he’s not disabled. Get out of the seat’
A quick assessment of his current state reassured me that he wasn’t an immediate threat.
‘Get out of the seat or I’ll break your (expletive deleted) neck’
I felt I was on fairly safe territory as the train manager no doubt attracted by the drunk’s loud voice was marching purposefully down the carriage. I should best describe him as well built. That is in the same sense that a brick mausoleum with insufficient flying buttresses is well built.
‘Presumably, at that point I would be sufficiently disabled to stay in the seat?’ I asked. ‘Seems like a wasted effort’
‘Lucky for you’ he replied just as the train manager descended upon him like the proverbial tonne of bricks. All the fun of the fair today !