11 Tips to Avoid Getting Punched in the Face When Travelling by Train This Christmas


In a few days time I will be on a train up to Manchester so I can spend the holidays with my mum, sisters and brother-in-law. I’ve made this journey on this particular day (the day before Christmas Eve) for twelve years, and in each one the same stereotypes appear without fail. It’s always extremely busy and cramped and with the holiday trials and tribulations it’s not unusual to see frayed tempers, but in the case of some people it’s easy to see why others get frustrated with them. If you are attempting to travel via train over the next few days, here are some helpful hints and tips that may avoid you getting punched in the face on your journey.

1. Stop complaining. It isn’t my fault that the train is late, that it’s cold, you’ve forgotten one of your presents, the train is too busy, that you’re fed up of the rain or that the price of the coffee is too high. Unless you’re prepared to become a god-like figure and physically change the weather, or be able to invest several billion pounds to improve the quality of the rail network (which isn’t actually that bad in my opinion) then there isn’t anything you can do. (I do appreciate the irony of my complaints about complainers here…).


Tip 2. If someone is wearing headphones, they don’t want to talk to you. I quite like chatting to various people that I meet on my travels, but I often witness someone persistently attempt to talk to the person sitting next to them on multiple occasions, apparently completely oblivious at the irritated response they are receiving – huffing, rolling of eyes and making a big show of taking their headphones off every time they are asked a question are usually an indication that they want to be left alone. Some may perceive this as rude, but it’s important to remember that there may be a valid reason why they want to keep themselves to themselves.

Tip 3. Put your phone on silent. While I’m sure that having the ‘Knightrider’ theme tune as your ring tone is the best thing ever in your world, I lose interest after the fourth time of hearing it. Similarly, I also don’t want to hear every time you match the candies on Candy Crush.

Tip 4. Wash yourself and your clothes before you travel. Clean your teeth. The smell of B.O. and last night’s garlic bread are unlikely to make you new friends anytime soon.


Tip 5. Learn the benefits of a capsule wardrobe. Unless you are going away for several weeks and have bought a present for each resident within your town, NOBODY needs three suitcases. Every year I always seem to sit next to different ladies that are visiting their children for a week and yet have still managed to bring several enormous suitcases with them ‘just in case.’ That’s fine, until everyone else realises that there is no space left for their own luggage and that’s when the arguments start.

Tip 6. If you haven’t been organised enough to reserve a seat in advance, don’t sit down with your enormous bags in a seat that says ‘reserved.’ Similarly, when the actual owner of the seat informs you that you’re sitting in their space, don’t tut, roll your eyes and make a huge show of moving out of the way. It’s your mistake, not theirs.

Tip 7. If you are feeling hungry, you have every right to eat. However, be aware that certain foods smell really strong and their essence will not only permeate the entire carriage but the smell will linger long after you’ve reached your destination, leaving fellow passengers with a delightful odour to remember you by. To the lady who got off the train at Stafford last year, I’m sure that the smell of the rotten hummus you ate is still in the air of that carriage.


Tip 8. Remember that personal space is quite important to some people. Standing so close to the person in front that they can feel your breath in their ears when waiting to get off the train is not going to make the process any faster. Neither will using your bag in an attempt to edge them forward.

Tip 9. Be aware that when you fall asleep, you may not be in control of yourself. Expect that some may not like it if you use them as a pillow and start dribbling on their shoulder.

Tip 10. PUT YOUR HAND OVER YOUR MOUTH. This can be applied to any number of functions – coughing, sneezing, yawning are among these.


Tip 11. Most importantly, remember that you aren’t the only person to be using the service. You aren’t the only one that is tired, stressed, behind in your Christmas prep and desperate to get to your destination. Be respectful, be polite and chill the f*ck out!

What about you guys? Do you see the same stereotypes whenever you use public transport?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks



I’m on a train to go and visit my mum in Manchester for a much needed break for a few days. I was supposed to go yesterday, but the cat needed antibiotics giving every six hours and The Bloke was at work.

Wobbly is ok. They have found that her lymph nodes are dark, suggesting lymphoma, but it is in the early stages as yet. After having a chat with the vet I have refused all further treatment for her aside from antibiotics to clear up the infection in her stomach and hopefully this will allow her  to start eating normally again for a while. I appreciate that the vet was offering me all sorts of alternatives – surgery, biopsies etc – but I’m not putting a 19 year old cat through that. When it’s time, I’ll say my goodbyes.

This morning has been quite eventful. My doctors rang me to tell me that I would have to come in for a third set of blood tests as the sample that they sent off weren’t usable.  I was so annoyed. If any GP’s practising in England are reading this I would love your advice on how to complain about an incompetent practice with rude and dismissive staff.

I got on the train and was lucky to find a large seat with a table and a socket to charge my mobile phone. All was quiet until a passenger in my carriage had his mobile phone stolen (he’d left it charging under his coat while he went to the toilet) and after the train manager made an announcement that he would call the police and have them meet us at the next station to review the CCTV footage it was returned.

Some people are scumbags. could see that the train manager was explaining to the passenger who took it and where the phone was found but I was prevented from listening in by two rather loud, rather posh elderly ladies who got on the train and sat opposite me. I was desperate to tell them to shut up but didnt have the heart.

Incidentally, the train manager is so pretty I could cry…

More Train Adventures…

I’m currently sitting at the station waiting to go home after spending the night at mum’s house. I’ve really enjoyed myself, but had a minor heart attack when I discovered this morning that I had several missed calls from The Bloke and I instantly had horrible thoughts that something bad had happened to one of the cats. It turns out that he’d managed to lock himself out of the house, AGAIN, and this meant that he’d have to get the train up to visit his family today instead of driving. Thank goodness I have my keys with me, but it has meant that I’ve had to leave a little earlier than anticipated in order to get home before he does.


Small train stations are miserable places in the UK, particularly when the weather is cold and windy. The platform is quiet and the air is punctuated by the sound of a screaming child and the occasional announcement over the tannoy system by a woman who clearly lost her passion for her job years ago. There’s a man that has been hovering near me for the last ten minutes. I know what’s coming next: he’s going to sit next to me, ask me what my name is, where I am going and them ask me if I smoke and can he have a cigarette. I don’t mind talking to people – I’ve had lots of different conversations during train journeys and I always find them really interesting, but I always attract the cigarette hunters, despite the fact that I don’t smoke that often and rarely have them on me…

Nope, I was wrong. He wanted 20 pence. I’m not quite sure why he wanted such a small amount, but gave it him anyway.

The train is due in five minutes. I’m going to try and catch up on your comments. Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday!


ImageIt’s currently 7.00am and I am on the train up to Manchester to go and visit my mum. It’s still dark outside, there’s a heavy mist in the air and there are just three of us that are in this carriage. The other two are having a deep and meaningful discussion about life and keep quoting motivational phrases at each other. Normally, I like these sorts of thoughts and must have thousands of inspirational messages saved onto my computer, but at this time in a morning I would rather they shut up, or at least conduct their discussion at a normal volume – Brian Blessed would be proud of their current efforts.

I’m not a morning person. In an ideal world, the very early hours of the morning are when I would be at my most productive, but I’m resigned to the fact that any sort of focus at work would be impossible if I don’t have a minimum of eight hours sleep every night.


However, the journey to the station proved to be quite an interesting one. Even at 6am there were still lots of people walking around in their clubbing outfits from the night before and some had obviously started to feel the effects of consuming their entire bodyweight in alcohol. One particular girl was stumbling around outside the station in a dress that was so short it barely covered her bottom. She had taken her enormously high shoes off and had made the intelligent decision not to bring a coat on one of the coldest nights of the year so she was shivering violently. She was alone and looked miserable, so I asked her if she was ok and was she able to get home. She looked at me with a death stare and replied:

“Yeah. F*ck off and mind your own business.”

Nice. As I started to walk away a car pulled up and I heard the girl yelling, “Where the f*ck have you been? I’m freezing my f*cking t*ts off here!”

Classy bird.

The Motivational Speakers and I have been joined by a young Asian woman, who has promptly fallen asleep in the chair opposite mine. Her expression is hilarious – her head is almost on the arm of the seat and her mouth is wide open. She isn’t dribbling yet, but it’s only a matter of time…

I’ve got an hour to go yet, so I think it’s time for some entertainment. Candy Crush, anyone?