tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines

Now approaching Nowheresville (population: you)

I've been to drop my car off to a welder in Billingshurst. I was very early, which makes a change, as I usually end up late getting to the Ford garage there for things like MOTs. It may seem odd to take an aged VW to a Ford garage, but my dad used to work there and still knows most of the staff, and we know that they're good.

Billingshurst is a blink-and-you-miss-it village in West Sussex near Horsham. It only took me about 50 minutes to drive there, taking it very steady and not doing many miles above 60mph, often much slower in the country lanes behind tractors. Having given my car over, I went to the train station for a ticket home.

The ticket costs £7.80. I say "Really?" surprised it's so much, and say it again before the station master convinces me. Also, the faster train back has been cancelled so I'm better off going home via Ford. I've never been to Ford, but passed through it on the way to Leamington Spa recently and know it is near Arundel as it came up in a discussion / argument I've been having with Tom on the BNM list last week. Billingshurst does have some nice shops, but they're all several minutes walk away from the station, so I nipped in to the not-too-good shop nearby, then it's on to the platform to wait. The shelter is made of scaffolding and wood boards, and the only bench isn't in it so I bake in the sun until the train arrives, sharing the platform with a train guard with a trolley of food and drink.

A ride through the countryside later and I'm in Ford. It's just over a half-hour wait until the train to Brighton, so I decide to have a look around Ford.

There's nothing here.

Well, obviously, there is something: a train station, a small industrial estate, a caravan / camping site, two pubs, a field of 'premier' mobile homes going at £130,000 a shot, and half a dozen houses. I walked both ways down the road next to the station, one way is 100 yards, the other is a bit further to get past the camping site, then it's fields.

For all of it's nothing-thereness, I quite like Ford. It's kind of a ludicrous place to end up changing trains. There doesn't seem to be enough here to warrant having a station, yet here it sits, in the middle of nowhere, just in case someone wants to get to the nearby fields. When the announcement for the train having arrived comes before the train is in sight a woman also waiting remarks that you wonder if it's really arrived there's a secret platform two-and-a-quarter and we'll need to jump through a wall to get to it. This place does have a sort of bizarre Harry Potter-unreality to it, perhaps the station exists to service something we just can't see. I didn't try rotating my world by a billionth of a billionth of a degree. I've enough to get on with without dealing with a load of Norse gods.

Sidenotes: On the way back from Ford I noticed the guy pulling around the food trolley was the same one I shared the wait with at Billingshurst. This means I could have stayed with him to wherever the Billingshurst train ended up and changed there, leaving Ford station with less to do than usual.

Also, it took about two hours to get back on public transport, which I feel isn't doing anything to go against my pro-car stance in the discussion on BNM I mentioned earlier. I've done the trip up to Billingshurst in 35 minutes, in a faster car than I own now, without particularly breaking the speed limit. That's a lot of difference in time if you're busy.
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