Seven shitty things that always happen on the train journey to your parents'

PLANNING a last-minute rail journey to spend Christmas with your folks? Don’t forget some Valium, as these panic-inducing problems are guaranteed to occur:

False sense of security

You’re stressed about cancellations but at the station everything’s fine. You relax and enjoy a pint or a coffee, then suddenly – mass cancellations. Your mum’s lovely dinner with all the trimmings is rapidly turning into a Dr Oetker pizza from the corner shop, eaten alone in your flat. 

You get a seat with the worst twats in the world

Too many to list: a family of shrieking twats, a weird guy inappropriately trying to chat you up, thugs with a terrifying dog that could rip a xenomorph to shreds. The difference now is they’ll have blocked the aisles with bags of Christmas stuff or just baffling items, like a length of drainpipe they’ve decided to take with them right now, for some reason.

False start

Your train moves off. You get comfy and breathe a sigh of relief. One minute later it’s announced you’ll be terminating at the next stop. No further information is available. It’s like one of those horror movies where the fateful final destination is Hell. Watford is near enough. 

Cans + no toilet = bad

It’s Christmas, so why not crack open a can? Because British train toilets are broken half the time anyway, and now there are 70 people queuing to use the only functioning one. When you do get in you’ll have to do a strange little dance where you flip up the seat with your foot, so your trainers rather than hands get contaminated with piss. 

Yomp across a station 

After a premature stop, you have to run to another platform weighed down with gifts and a rucksack. Once there you’re told to go back to the original platform and wait, confirming your suspicions that the UK rail network is run by Jigsaw-like sadists.

Actual pain 

You’re transferred to a train that’s already full. You try to sit on the floor of a vestibule with less space than a Viet Cong bamboo cage. It’s painfully uncomfortable. You’re forced to stand for several hours instead, a technique also popular with torturers if they don’t want to leave bruises and burn marks. 

You arrive… somewhere

The train terminates after midnight, 15 miles from your parents’ house and all public transport has stopped. Christmas gets off to a bad start as you grovel for a lift at 2am from your deeply f**ked-off dad.

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Fox hunters, and other groups that oddly hate Boris Johnson now

SINCE darts fans, of all people, have declared themselves Boris Johnson-haters, here are some other unlikely groups with a sudden antipathy toward the PM. 

The fox murdering community

Nathan Muir, master of the Pytchley Hunt: “Johnson disgusts me. To think that back in April 2020 we were conducting our illegal hunt without a traditional toast and maintaining social distancing between horses.

“We were not even allowed to blow our horns in case they spread the virus. But Johnson and his cronies were laughing it up and quaffing on his patio. It’s a disgrace.”

The Bullingdon Club

Denys Finch Hatton, club secretary: “Back in 2020 we’d have loved nothing more than enjoying our traditional conviviality, hurling bread rolls at waiters, initiating new members by urinating into the soup cauldron and making them down a ladleful, or bruleeing our own farts while chanting Rugby songs. 

“Instead, we were forced to close up shop while our ex-member was living it up on wine and cheese. The high-handed, arrogant behaviour of the elite sickens us.”

The cabinet

Cabinet secretary Norman Steele: “I would describe the mood at cabinet as less than deferential. Not just the chants of ‘Stand up if you hate Boris’ that greet him the moment he enters the room but also several high-profile ministers joining forces to debag him and force him to sit in the corridor wearing a dunce’s hat. 

“They’re appalled that they were unable to have drinks with him on the patio and were instead forced to look on from their windows, taking photos out of a sense of public duty.”

Johnson’s family

Johnson’s sister Rachel: “It’s fair to say that Alex can expect a rough ride this Christmas. In our robustly humorous Johnson family way we’ve put an artificial snowman in the front garden with a wooden sign reading ‘BORIS IS A SHIT’. 

“And just jolly well wait and see his face when he unwraps his present from all of us. It’s a giant sack of manure, to which we all chipped in. It seems strange because we used to think he was a great bloke until a fortnight ago, but you have to bear in mind that we’re all bastards too.”