Finance: The Trader - When limited company is a thing of joy

Doors opened, a mass of humanity bulged out and hordes threw themselves forward

BIG MISTAKE, drinking on a Sunday evening. I'd gone away with my pal Jane for a chilled-out weekend at her parents' house in the country, with sleeping, being fed and the odd spot of healthy exercise being high on the agenda.

It all went swimmingly, so swimmingly in fact that when her father offered us a glass of dry sherry at 5pm Sunday, we both took one without a thought. Before we knew what had happened it was 9 o'clock, supper was ready and we were both well over the limit.

"I'm not risking losing my licence," Jane said as crossly as someone who knows they're in a mess and it's all their fault. "I know everyone else in the City drink-drives, but I'm not like that."

"Well, it's no good looking at me like that," I huffed. "I'm not prepared to lose my licence either. I adore driving my car."

So we ended up staying the night, resigned to an unspeakably early start.Plainly, we weren't quite resigned enough.

Even by the usual standards of grimness for Monday mornings, this one took the biscuit. We both woke with throbbing headaches from our unaccustomed consumption of sherry.

"Should have stuck to vodka like we usually do," I muttered between gulps of black coffee. Then Jane's car wouldn't start.

Time ticked on, and my nerves began to fray. I was going to be hideously, hideously late. Everyone would be furious with me. I would lose my job. The end of the world was nigh. There wasn't time to wait for the breakdown people. What were we going to do?

"Well, darlings," said Jane's mother, who had kindly got up early as well, to keep us company, "there is this strange thing called public transport. I know you two don't use it much but lots of other people do. I think you'll find you can get a train to London." If only we'd known what we were letting ourselves in for.

The warning bells began to ring faintly as we walked into the small station: long queues at the one ticket booth, and no cappuccino stall. By the time we reached the platform over the foot bridge, the bells were deafening.

"Look at all those people," Jane whispered in awe. "They can't all get into one train, surely?"

It's fine, I told her confidently, I expect they'll have extra carriages for the rush hour. I mean, it's common sense, isn't it. Only common sense and the railways must have parted company while I wasn't concentrating. Along came four tinny little carriages already bursting at the seams.

The doors opened, the mass of humanity inside bulged out slightly, and the hordes on the platform flung themselves forward in quiet desperation. Before we knew what was happening, Jane and I were swept along with them. The next minute we were on the train and the doors closed.

"God," said Jane to my nose, which was the only part of me she could see through the sea of armpits, backs and heads. "This is worse than the Underground, and that's enough to drive anyone mad. When I was at Embankment the other night, the announcer kept on saying, `the gap... the gap'. So even he'd lost his `mind'."

At the next station more people got on, but as the doors closed a small opening appeared in the crowd. For a few seconds I caught sight of a poster point- ing out that an hour's travel to work each way adds up to three weeks a year.

I was too depressed to notice what was being advertised, if anything. "Jane," I said sadly to her left ear. "Do you think we could run an investment business from home?"

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?