On our journeys from Norwich to Cornwall we prefer to take the Night Riviera Sleeper, the night train between London Paddington Station and Penzance. We experienced that the British train companies have strict rules about times that you are allowed to get on night trains.
Before 11 PM you will not be admitted. So often we have to spend some time on the station. We don’t have a problem with this, we just have a coffee and a Cornish Pasty and amaze ourselves about the haste of the Londoners.
Everybody runs to and from trains. It makes us feel very happy that we don’t have to rush ourselves.
On this evening it was like always, as time went by less trains arrived and left the station. We just got a second coffee to flush away the Pasty. A man in a suit came by. It was the sort of suit you would never buy yourself; there was probably a company logo somewhere on it. He stopped pretty near us, looked down and got a walkie-talkie out of his pocket. We looked closely at what was happening. There was a ball of paper on the floor!
The man talked into the walkie-talkie and within a minute another man arrived. He was of Asian background wearing an orange uniform and having a paper-grabber in his hand. We knew already that men in orange jackets normally are workers, supervisors are dressed in a green jacket. The man with the suit probably was a manager.
The worker grasped the ball with his paper-grabber and then looked questioningly at the manager. He took his walkie-talkie in his hands again and spoke some words.
From behind them a little lorry with two rubbish bins on wheels came by. The manager shouted something to the driver and he stopped. The worker came to the bins with the paper-grabber. His purpose obviously was to put the paper ball in one of them. The driver shook his head and pointed at the bins. One was grey and had number 35 on it, the other was blue and had 27. He spoke a little bit more with the manager and then drove off. The manager talked into his walkie-talkie again. He and the worker waited after this without exchanging a word.
A lorry came by again. The worker already smiled but it was too soon: it was the lorry with the bins 35 and 27 again.
After what seemed ten minutes, finally another lorry showed up. And yes: this one had bins with other numbers. There were two bins again, both grey and with the numbers 25 and 39. The worker was allowed to put the paper ball in number 39. After this the lorry rode off.
The worker and the manager walked towards a building. There were signs on it that I couldn’t read from the distance we were sitting. They went in.
I walked to the building to see what it was. According to the signs, it was forbidden for travellers and strictly for the staff. When another person went in, I could see that there were tables and chairs.
The men were having a break. I could imagine they needed one.