• Morgan Fagg

A watched train boils my blood

Updated: Feb 23

Waiting on trains, that never seem to arrive on time.

They say a watched kettle never boils but after buying a new kettle with a 58 second, one cup boil function, I don’t mind waiting a minute for my kettle to boil.


On the other hand, a watched train, never seems to arrive and I am always surprised how long you can wait for a train to arrive and just how long a Renfe minute can be.


I am talking about the C1/C7/C10 lines that pass through Atocha and Principe Pio and I can’t compare it with all the other lines which I presume are much more reliable than my route.


Yesterday, I cycled an hour to an English class and cycled back an hour as I hate public transport so much that the only way to stop my blood from boiling, is to bike instead of taking the train.


A co-worker of mine doesn't notice the consistent problems with the trains in Spain when he takes the same route in the morning but to me, an hour-long cycle, door-to-door is faster than a 25-minute train journey with a 20-30 minute wait, wondering when the train will arrive.


Arriving at these train stations, I always look at the time on my phone and the blank monitors so I know how long I have had to wait before getting any information on the next train.


Renfe staff will lie and say the trains are every 15 minutes but if you look at the time, you will quite often find that you can wait almost 10-15 minutes before receiving any information.


Once the countdown has started you might also find a magical Renfe minute where the monitor might freeze time or lose count altogether. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Renfe%20minute


Last week for example after talking with a polite Renfe employee about the delays the previous day in which I had to wait 58 minutes for the train before deciding to take a taxi instead, I stressed if the train would be delayed again and if I needed to take another taxi in order to get to my class on time.

It was nice to find a polite Renfe employee for a change but in the end, I found myself waiting almost ten minutes for the monitor to come alive which then stated that the train would arrive in eight minutes.


Ten minutes later the monitor was still displaying eight minutes as the train pulled into the station.


The timer turning blank as the train pulled up to the platform but just enough time to get a picture of the train, eight minutes away.


A watched train, drains me and boils my blood but at least that train arrived in under an hour.


Forget the stressful old steam engine, cycling lets you let-off-steam.






Title translation:

The title is a combination of two well-known English sayings which means you need to understand both expressions in order to understand the meaning of the title.


A watched kettle or a watched pot, never boils = una tetera/ olla vigilada nunca hierve

A better description in Spanish for a watched kettle might be quien espera desespera.

Makes your blood boil = hace que te hierva la sangre


Letting off steam (desahogarse/ liberar estrés) has two similar meanings which can refer to either exercising to relax or if you are really stressed you might need to do or say something to get rid of your anger.


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© 2018 by Morgan Fagg.