Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Is this the weirdest excuse ever?

UPDATE: thanks to my Phather the (retired) Inglish teecher for spotting a typo, now corrected.  Shame on the rest of you for not spotting it (or, worse, for spotting it and not letting me know).  And, no, I will not tell you what it was.

I think I've asked before if anyone cares to share their weirdest or most amusing delay excuses, but I'm going to have to open the floor again as I've just been apprised of a doozy: my friend Tim, who I strongly suspect is more often than not my masked commenter "anonymous" (though not the dastardly "Anonymous John") reports that his girlfriend Kate's (who I guess I should really start calling my friend now too: sorry Kate!) train was delayed because of - wait for it:
"two swans on the line"
I can't decide what's the most disturbing about this excuse: is it the reason itself, or the scary specificity about the number of swans.  Would a single swan have been OK because the train could have sort of sidled past?  Would three or more swans be OK because the Kate Middleton had pregnancy cravings and this would save money on sourcing fresh bird for her to spend on doing up the nursery?  (Hey, even our royal family's feeling the pinch - oh, no, wait: that's just those of us not destined to live in obscene luxury our entire lives due to an accident of birth.  Not that I'm bitter.  Or an anti-royalist.)  Seems almost too weird to believe, but I found out there's actually precedent.
Swans: the scourge of the railway lines.  (Image credit: Metro)
Although that's only one swan.  Perhaps they normally work in pairs but the other one was on strike that day?

Tim's text ended with the challenging note: 'beat that!'  Which got me thinking about the craziest excuses I've ever heard on public transport (though I've also always been partial to BA's perennial '[this delay] is due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft' - so we're delayed... because we're delayed?  Yeah, that makes sense.).

Unfortunately, I don't think I can beat 'two swans on the line'.  I've had a car on the track ahead (presumably some dickhead trying to dodge the level crossing.  I've had a fatality on the train in front (which turned out, from watching the news later that night, to not be a fatality: turned out some 12-year-old hooligan had been thrown off the train at a station for not having a ticket, then tried to jump back on the moving train, fell on the line and had his arm severed.  The local hospital was apparently able to re-attach it, though given that it gave me a three-hour delay (the route was Hastings to Chichester, if you really want to know), I wish they hadn't bothered so he could have had a constant reminder not to be an inconsiderate, fare-dodging prick.)

Swans, though.  That's a good one.

What about you?  Heard any good mitigating circumstances recently?

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