Tag Archives: angry

Farewell Candy Crush

164 levels completed, several hours/days of time killed but now it’s time to uninstall. Candy Crush Saga has moved from fun time-killer to “please pay money / wait a long time in order to reach the next level” mode. Also, the makers may be a little bit evil.

Look out for the following in a few weeks:
– better games on my phone
– a new phone to play them on
– more time to do science rather than moving colourful blobs around

Taiwan, eventually

Outward Journey

Wow, what a day. I awoke at 5.45 am, showered and dressed in plenty of time and arrived at the bus stop nice and early. Things were interesting from the off though, as I had to lend a woman a fiver so she could get on the bus. I was repaid a few minutes later when the driver stopped at a cash point. Why he couldn’t have just waited until that point to collect the erstwhile £5 I don’t know. Arriving at Heathrow at 10.00 for a 12.35 flight, I checked in swiftly and waved farewell to my baggage. Loading up on the usuals, Private Eye and whichever newspaper is giving away a free bottle of water, I settled down in the departure lounge and read happily. At the right time, the 100 or so people due to fly to Hong Kong all trooped down to the gate as normal. From then on, things were far from normal. Firstly, rather than a walkway to the plane, we were squeezed into buses and driven all the way across the terminal, through a tunnel to a little backwater and then up the stairs to the plane. Where we sat and waited. And waited. Eventually the in flight entertainment was switched on, but still no word about whether we would be leaving. Assuming a reasonably short delay, I started watching Sherlock Holmes on the basis that it would be reasonably trashy and I could pause halfway through without losing the plot. Two hours later and I’d  finished that, and my magazines. At last, an announcement – the engineers were working on the plane, but had ordered the wrong part. More waiting, and eventually the part arrived. But it still didn’t fix the problem and the annoucement came over that we were to be “deplaned”, as soon as they could get some buses over to pick us up. An hour later we were on our way back to the terminal, each clutching a letter entitling us to £15 worth of food in the terminal restaurants. This was  at 4pm, and was to be the first thing I had eaten since breakfast at 7.

Wolfing down a positively mediocre lasagne, I heard a garbled announcement on the PA which might have related to us – I shoved my chocolate fudge cake (dry, with a texture best described as “plastique”) into my mouth and trotted over to the boards to find that there was a new gate available for our flight. Not knowing when we were to leave, I charged over and got onto the plane, now miraculously operational apparently. However, rapid take-off was stymied by the fact that there were 100 hungry, angry people milling around in the terminal, some of whom were still queueing to eat dinner, many of whom didn’t speak english, and all of whom unable to understand the terrible PA. We took off at 7.10, six and a half hours late.

I wrote that from Hong Kong airport, twelve boring, uncomfortable and sleep-deprived hours later, about to board my re-arranged connection to Taipei.

Which didn’t happen. After boarding, waiting for a bunch of people who got lost and finally being ready to leave, the doors broke and wouldn’t close. So we “deplaned” again, and have returned to the departure lounge to get a different plane to Taipei. It’s now 27 hours since I awoke, I dozed for about an hour on the plane and it will be a good four hours until I get to my hotel in Taipei, assuming of course that they haven’t given me up as a bad job and cancelled my booking.

2100 Taipei time, 31 hours after my bus departed from Cambridge:
And I’ve finally arrived in my hostel. The second flight to Taipei went without a hitch, and I’ve successfully cleared immigration. I caught a bus to the main city train station, thinking that the airport was out of the city but not too much, only to find that it was a 30km ride in the rain. Good job I didn’t go for the taxi approach, although I guess the fare would have been covered on expenses. Seeing the gridlock around the station I took the metro to the right stop, and am now the proud owner of their version of an oyster. The Taipei Easycard is cheap (40p for a single journey) and can be used to pay for shopping up to £25 and government services. There is one last nail in the coffin for this journey unfortunately, putting my luggage on and off four planes has caused one of the wheels on my holdall to snap, meaning it now kind-of drags behind me rather than rolling. Combining this with the plentiful puddles on the streets tonight and I’ve got some drying to do.

Fun times

Train Madness



Here is how we spent yesterday evening, attempting the 1.5 hour journey from Bristol to Oxford:

  • 21.30, Bristol, 60 miles from Oxford.
    Arrive at Temple Meads station after a really nice dinner with Sonya’s family for Asher’s 21st birthday
  • 21.35, Bristol, 60 miles from Oxford.
    Realise that the train to London (first leg of the journey) has been cancelled. Frantically call Sonya’s parents and Fiona, hoping to get an alternative route. Discover that we have to wait for the 22.33 instead, and should change at Didcot. Turns out the 20.15 was cancelled too, so there are lots of people kicking around at the station.
  • 22.33, Bristol, 60 miles from Oxford. rain arrives, world and his wife get on but we get seats at least
  • 23.00, Chippenham, 41 miles from Oxford.
    Train running a few minutes late, waits a long time at the station, no reason given.
  • 23.30, Swindon, 25 miles from Oxford.
    “We apologise for the delay, there has been a fight on the train and we need to wait for the police to arrive, they have been called”. We didn’t see any of the fight, but security did turf someone off the train for not having a ticket. There was a long wait until we got going again.
  • 23.55, Didcot, 11 miles from Oxford.
    “We apologise for the delays, passengers for Oxford should remain on the train until Reading where there will be a connection to Oxford”
  • 00.25, Reading, 24 miles from Oxford(!).
    “Passengers for Oxford, please disembark here”. Off we get, and walk to platform 4 as directed. Whereupon we look at the board and see that the train coming in to platform 4 is going to … Bristol via Didcot. Great. We make our presence known to the station manager, and explain that we just came from Didcot, were sent on to Reading, and don’t particularly want to go back again. He promises a taxi ride instead and disappears into his office. We wait on the platform.
  • 00.39, Reading, 24 miles from Oxford.
    The last train to Bristol leaves the station, we wait on the platform with four Oxford-bound compatriots, a large bunch heading to Gatwick and twenty-or-so hoping to get to a variety of nearby stations. Our conversations are accompanied by the announcement “Would the gentleman urinating on platform 9 please leave the station immediately”.
  • 01.00, Reading, 24 miles from Oxford.
    “All passengers for Oxford!” We walk outside, only to find ourselves at the back of a large queue waiting for the station-ordered minicabs. Pretty much everyone else gets a cab before us.
  • 01.20, Reading, 24 miles from Oxford.
    The station staff are having problems getting enough taxis, but have good news for us, they have persuaded a passing bus driver to extend his route for us. We can get a lift as far as Oxford, as long as we go via the original destination, Didcot.
  • 02.00, Didcot, 11 miles from Oxford.
    Pulling into a deserted, dark, soaking wet, freezing cold station, the driver delivers his original load of passengers, then goes outside for an extended fag break. To rub things in he leaves the door open.
  • 02.25, Oxford!!
    Finally we’ve made it, only 3 hours after our original scheduled arrival!

After all that, we waited in the cold and the rain for another 20 minutes until a mincab arrived and took us to Fiona’s house, collapsing through the door at 3.00. We are eternally grateful to her for staying up for us, supplying a bed, sleeping bag, tea, bacon sandwiches and sympathy.