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
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
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

Property Underwriter

£70-90,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client a London Market Insurer are seeking a Pro...

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week