Bummer of a journey puts me on the wrong track ...

FOR quite a number of years I have commuted by train to work, but this has not gone without incident.

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Half asleep most evenings, I just want a seat, a nap and home.

However, on one particular evening the train is running late and eventually arrived with half the carriages it should have.

'Great', I think. I just know how this journey is going to be. I'm getting ratty and I haven't even stepped on it yet.

I manage to squeeze on to the packed, warm, sweaty carriage. All the seats are taken and it is standing room only.

I squeeze between passengers who are packed in like sardines and I settle myself into a tiny small standing space.

I put my heavy bags on the floor between my legs and try to balance myself.

My goodness it is hot and there is barely room to breathe.

We pull into High Street station and more passengers are jostling each other to squeeze on.

People sway back and forth in unison with the train carriage as it takes off again. Travellers of all shapes and sizes surround me. There is no escape.

Suddenly, I feel someone touch my bum. I have no idea who because I can't turn round. I am like a statue that can face only one direction.

No, I must have imagined it, I convince myself. It's so busy; someone has obviously accidentally brushed against me.

Pulling out of the next station, I experience the same thing again. Packed as it is, someone has definitely touched my bum again. Surely not?

My movement is restricted but I turn around to look for the culprit. 'I'm not having this', I think.

Cranking my head round, I can make out half a dozen well-dressed male commuters behind me and a young girl reading a magazine.

Maybe it was my imagination, I try to re-assure myself as I settle back to my thoughts of getting home.

Soon we are pulling into the next station, people are squeezing past me. Now he is at it again, only this time he is touching the back of my legs.

'No, I'm not having this,' I tell myself. This is definitely not on, packed train or not.

I slowly turn around and icily glare at the tall suited man directly behind me.

That should do it. I think to myself. One serious glare from me should be enough for anyone.

But no. A few seconds later and he is at it again.

I can now feel something on the back of my legs and it is definitely not a briefcase!

'Right, enough is enough', I tell myself. I have another eight stations to endure this and who knows what he might do next.

I am now all flustered at being in such a confined space and in this stressful situation.

It is a major struggle, but somehow, I manager to turn around to face the offender and I am ready to make my feelings known.

He is not getting away with this. You can't go around groping people just when you feel like it. No. Packed train or not, he is getting a piece of my mind.

"Excuse me," I say loudly with aggression borne of outrage in my voice.

People turn and stare because I am now facing the wrong way. The exit is in the other direction.

"Excuse me," I growl. The offender glances at me and still says nothing.

I break the silence in the sleepy, sweaty, busy carriage. We are now face-to-face, eyeball to eyeball as I start to give him a piece of my mind.

"Excuse me. But would you mind keeping your hands to yourself."

The suspect looks around him and decides it actually is him that I'm talking to.

"What's the problem?" he asks innocently, although I'm not falling for that.

"What's the problem? WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?" I roar incredulously. "You know what the problem is."

But before he can answer I cash on with my rant.

"The problem is …"

But before I can go any further I notice both of his hands are holding an open newspaper.

Just at that, I feel something warm against my leg again. And it is a bit wet.

The suspect's hands are occupied, so it can't be him, although he does look a bit scared of the madwoman staring wide-eyed at his innocent fingers.

I manage to find a tiny gap and look down towards the seats where I find the real culprit, who is sitting happily unaware of my anguish.

His huge eyes are staring at me. He is panting due to the heat in the carriage and is licking his lips with his long tongue.

I shrug and smile apologetically at the commuter with the newspaper who only wants to make it home in one piece.

Passengers nearby stifle their amusement and are pointing at me and then towards the floor.

There, at my feet, sits a beautiful golden retriever guide dog whose owner is completely oblivious to the commotion I have caused.

My face is flushed and I now feel a fool.

Eventually, the carriage empties and I sit and stare at my canine friend, who is sitting obediently swishing his tail from side to side and I now try to justify my outburst.

"Well, how was I to know?" I ask myself. "A girl can never be too careful."


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