I just want one train ticket price for the time I need to go

Zella hates buying train tickets
Zella hates buying train tickets
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Train tickets and what to do about them would be a great title for a book.

The opening chapter could be a pithy account of a short-sighted government that couldn’t comprehend that cars would change the world so much and that the redundant rail branch lines could have become the saviours of a greener generation.

And the rest of the chapters would be an incredibly detailed flow chart about how to buy a ticket, depending on the day of travel, the time of day of travel, how far you are away from the day of travel, and where you are travelling and what to do in case of strikes, leaves and no guards.

And then an extra-special prologue of the next in the series, which gives top tips about how to buy loads of shorter distance tickets because it’s much cheaper – in some cases – to do that rather than buy a single ticket for a long journey. Aargh.

The announcement that the government is going to review train tickets and how they are sold is great. It’s about time, as we all know the absolute pain and horror of the free market and public (that’s not public) transport.

Who hasn’t logged on to the internet only to be bamboozled by the number of websites from which to purchase a rail ticket? There are loads of them, all claiming to be the cheapest, or easiest to use or some such nonsense.

I loathe buying tickets for any type of transport. And the reason? I never know whether I’m getting a fair price, or whether if I waited five minutes there would be a cut-price seat, or if I’d booked three years in advance I would have been paid to actually take the journey.

Recently I nearly broke the internet trying to buy a round-trip ticket. I had to visit multiple train websites and compare and contrast this, that and the other.

Who wants that? Not me. I want one price, the right one, for the time I need to go without having numerous options.

It seems to me that selling off the railways made life richer for a few and left the rest of us scrabbling around trying to make sense of the crumbs. A bit like Hansel and Gretel, following a route that keeps getting pecked away.


I was delighted to find out that the book I Capture The Castle written by Dodie Smith is being made into a musical.

This is one of my best books for tucking up on the sofa in front of the fire and devouring in one go.

If you’ve not read it or have a relative in their early teens and you’re looking to buy them a great read which isn’t about vloggers or bloggers, this could be the perfect book for you.

Never out of print since it came out in the late 1940s, its author went on to write the much more famous 101 Dalmatians.

This turned out to be much more successful but, in my opinion, it’s not half as good as I Capture The Castle.

And yes, I will be making the trip to Watford to see it in action on the stage.


This evening sees me at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth, teaching a three-week course in developing writing.

If you fancy putting pen to paper and don’t know where to start, or if you’ve been developing a piece of work and need to get back to it, this might just be the course for you.

All you need to do is ring the theatre now and book a place (there are a few spaces left).

And for those of you who’ve completed a first, second or third draft of a novel, story, play – whatever – I’m running a day’s workshop on Saturday.

The aim of this is to help people understand the editing process.

Again, it’s at the New Theatre Royal and is only a phone call away.