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Rain, drunks and an irritated guard

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So there I was, sitting in the usual 24xx "laminate" dining car, having my dinner off the usual bent-edged tray, with dribbly teapot, cup and saucer; no plastic Costa Coffee cups in those days.


It was lashing down. Pouring for the third day in a row, and carting myself about the countryside on a runabout ticket meant a dash across a platform to a connecting train or bus, with no chance of taking photographs. In any event, I could just afford maybe one 36 exposure film a week with my pocket money - and that didn't include posting it to England to have it developed. I was treating myself: full dinner was over £3, but a steak on a moving train is only inferior as a life experience to a pint of Guinness on a steam hauled one, so that was that.


The quarter light of the window above me was dripping, as were others, and across the aisle there was a drip from the ceiling onto an unoccupied seat. We must have been hurtling towards Athlone, as at Ballinasloe our "A" class slowed, stopped, and picked up a passenger who, let us say, was of somewhat rural background. He was also three sheets to the wind; sozzled, gee-eyed, away with the drink, frolicking in the meadows with the Sweetie Mice. He tottered to the seat opposite and sat down heavily, oblivious to the constant drip on his shoulder. Out came the pipe, which he lit up.


Along came the Tickets-Please man. "Ye can't smoke that in here. Ye have to go to the smokin' carriage".




"I said, ye can't smoke that here. This is the dining car, you can't......"


"Wha? Do I look like in in de dining car? I'm not *** eatin anything!"




"I'll **** smoke wherever I **** like, ye little *****!"


At this, the Rural Gentlemen stood up, took off his jacket, and rolled up his sleeves. I turned to look ouit of the window, admiring the grey rain pouring out of a grey sky onto barely visible grey turf bog, as we sped through eastern Co Galway.


The guard retreated, collected his thoughts, and came back,

"If ye don't put that ***** thing out NOW, I'm stoppin' the train at Athlone and I'll get ye ****ed off the train where ye belong. Right?"


The rural one ignored him, and smoked his pipe. At Athlone, the guard reappeared with a different type of guard. Or Garda. This time, Rural one was civil, though still slurred.... a somewhat more muted conversation ensued, and he completed his journey to Dublin with his pipe in his pocket.


Up front, the "A" purred away, speeding its motley selection of half a dozen laminates and Park Royals eastward through Athlone and Mullingar, and finally Westland Row; sorry, Pearse.


Our pipe smoking friend still never noticed the dripping......

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