Coming back from Nunhead at six last night having visited our new grandson Oriole went off to Sainsbury’s and I took the shuttle train from Brighton Station to London Road. I had a Sainsbury’s bag now emptied of presents for Jack and Emma.
The station was unusually crowded which I attributed to the Festive Season.

Pulling up at London Road I realised that for some reason this was a train of eight carriages instead of the usual four, and I was in the back half of the train looking down on oily tracks and litter. I scooted through the train but alas it was too late and was taken on to Moulsecoomb(see map above).

No staff, No other passengers, No illuminated notices, Just me and the Sainsbury’s bag.I waited twenty minutes for a train to take me back to London Road. As it came in I knew something was wrong. The windows dripped condensation
and there was not a space to be had as a seat or even a space in aisle on a train where there was usually barely ever another passenger.

I pressed the button to open the door and a large shaven headed Brighton supporter fell out of the train on to me.
I helped him to return to his mates and squeezed myself in. The smell was nauseating, the chanting worse. A much older man hanging on to a strap, but safely wedged by companions
laughed in my general direction and pointing to the Sainsbury’s bag.

“She’s got you shopping eh matey…?”

I looked into the bag. It contained my black peaked hat and a copy of the London Review of Books.

“Seagulls…. Seagulls…” roared the carriage as every passenger pointed at my shopping.

“You wouldn’t believe it… “ I found myself saying.

“Oh” he confided.” I would… I would.” and winked at no-one in particular.

With due warning to my previous victim, I prised myself free at London Road gulped fresh air and headed home as the train roared off, “Seagulls…. Seagulls”

Brighton 1, Watford 0. Had I known, my discomfort would have been increased immeasurably.