So, around 2.30pm yesterday, I collected 21-year old student, Ben, from the railway station. He (with his dyed 'blackcurrant', straightened hair, long black leather coat, steam punk waistcoat, drainpipe black trousers, etc) flopped into the passenger seat and began to devour a huge bowl of chicken couscous salad, a packet of crisps and other goodies. "Boy, have I got a story to tell you!" he exclaimed. And, without doubt, this is the kind of experience that would seriously have freaked him out when he was under the influence of the eating disorder. But yesterday he just took it in his stride.
"I just made it to the train at YYYY when the doors closed. I was still on the platform, but my shoulder bag had got trapped in the train doors. Luckily the guard noticed before blowing his whistle, ran over to me, called me a stupid idiot and gave me a lecture on how dangerous this could have been. But he let me on the train. And a woman behind me managed to nip onto the train, too. She thanked me profusely and we moaned about the grumpy guard. She was really grateful she'd caught the train as if she hadn't she would have missed a spa session with a friend who she was meeting at XXXX.
"Then the same grumpy guard came over and asked to see my ticket. I'd lost it!! I tried to explain that I'd bought a return ticket when I travelled down on Monday and I had the 'outward' section to prove it. But of course he didn't believe me and went mad, threatening to throw me off the train, fine me, etc. So I asked for ten minutes' grace while I searched for the ticket. I still couldn't find it. And he wouldn't accept my credit card to pay for a replacement.
"So I had a lightbulb moment. I charged off to find that woman who'd got on with me, explained the problem, apologised but asked her if she'd buy a replacement ticket for me and I'd pay her back at XXXX station. She agreed and when the guard came back we pretended we knew each other and she paid for my ticket.
"After that we chatted all the way to XXXX and when we got there, I went to the cash machine and paid her back.
"So that's why I'm having my lunch so late!"
PS: Ben is still achieving 'firsts' in his university study with a professor's comment "this was a joy to read" on his latest assignment. (Proud mum!!!)