Archive for May, 2006

Some people will do anything in a car

May 30th, 2006

It has become an all too common sight, a car driver using the travel time to finish the morning routine.

There are the ones who just do quick touches, not really risking themselves or anyone else. Quickly passing a comb through the hair, or applying lipstick.

And the ones completing their meal, taking occasional bites of a sandwich while driving.

Somewhat worse are the women doing a full make-up routine during the drive. This can go on for quite a while, covering a few long roads and several stops at traffic lights.

And there are those that totally amaze me, catching up on their morning newspapers while driving. Switching between looking at the road, and glancing at the pages of the paper spread in front of them over the driving wheel. Or, more likely, between glancing at the road and intently reading the paper.

This last group has recently been joined by a few people with an in-car TV, who watch the news, or maybe just movies, while driving.

After a while you get inured to these things. They still look stupid and dangerous, but there is no longer any surprise on seeing anyone doing this.

Today I got a surprise, though. People will never fail to amaze you, and that’s a fact. New lows are always there for someone to sink into.

I saw a guy shave. Yes, shave. While driving a car.

A dry shave. Maybe he was worried that water and shaving cream would spill in the car. And the logistics of doing it while driving are simpler, that’s true. Spreading lots of small hairs all over his clothes, and in the car, wasn’t a problem for him though.

And neither were holding a knife next to his throat and face while in a moving vehicle surrounded by other moving vehicles, or having to turn his rear-view mirror to show his face instead of the back of the road.

Will wonders never cease?

Search engine and terminology

May 20th, 2006

Search engines are a pretty hot topic on-line. The big companies keep adding services and features. And new ones keep popping all the time, trying to present new features and techniques in order to get a piece of the market.

And they all get coverage in the news, or do their own press releases.

A couple of those I saw recently had some terminology problems that really irked me, though. I know, I know, reading something about a search engine, and being mostly bothered about a few wrong words is petty. But still.

The first one was a report on Exalead. I’ve played a bit with Exalead beta in the past (Like many other online services these days it has been in beta stage for a long time), and overall it’s pretty nice. It has some nice features and interface ideas, but it does have its quirks and problems as well.

The part that bothered me in the article (well, the terminological issue, anyway. There were a few other article parts I didn’t exactly agree with and that felt more like hype than an actual reporting or review) though, wasn’t in something about Exalead itself. It was in this paragraph describing the competition:

Bourdoncle’s ambition is to crack the top five in Web search, which is now led by Google, followed by Yahoo, Microsoft, Time Warner and Ask.

Everyone heard of Google. And yes, Yahoo is pretty big in search as well, and doing a good job at it. Microsoft has also added some changes and improvement, and are working on getting better search result. And Ask too have increased features and made significant advances, moving from what was once a rather sad search engine to one that seems to have a good chance of gaining a higher position in the top five.

But Time Warner? That made me stop in my tracks reading it. Time Warner have a search engine?! Since when? What are they talking about? Heck, I know and have heard of quite a lot of small, even tiny, search engines, and yet never heard of any Time Warner one. No way it became one of the big five.

And then it hit me. AOL. The guy who wrote that article, Dan Farber is someone with a lot of experiene in the field, and should really know better. Yet he decided that due to the AOL – Time Warner merger it would be correct to refer to AOL’s search engine as Time Warner.

The search engine is AOL. Not Time Warner. Referring to it as Time Warner shows a stunning lack of understanding, and a total lack of connection to anything going on in the search area. I really do hope that this wasn’t in the original post, but was maybe changed by some idiotic marketing guy who is in charge of “correcting” their posts before publishing (Though such a practice is a problem all by itself).

But regardless of how it got there, the second I saw something like that on the article it immediately made everything else there suspect. A reader can’t be expect to trust anything appearing on an article by someone who broadcasts so loudly that he doesn’t have a clue. If he’s capable of referring to Time Warner as a big search engine (and never mind that AOL’s search engine isn’t particularly good, it is big at least) then he’s clueless.

The second case is from a post by Yahoo, about them releasing the Yahoo Answers service from beta.

This post is on Yahoo’s search blog, where supposedly people actually have a clue about search.

And they also provide a link for adding their Yahoo Answers as a search engine in the Firefox browser. There are two problems with that link, however.

The first is a purely technical one. It doesn’t point to a place which adds their Yahoo Answers service as a search engine in Firefox. Instead it directs to the general page for adding search engines to the search bar in Firefox. If someone wants to they can search for the Yahoo Answers there and add it, but that’s not what the idea of linking to adding the search engines is supposed to be. Nor do they explain near the link that people following it will have to go on searching for it manually. Currently there’s a second link from the main page, but that varies, and can change…

The second one is the terminology item which again gave me a start. They referred to the link as one to add Yahoo Answers as a search repository in Firefox. Yes, that’s right, not a search engine, but a search repository.

I have no idea what a search repository is (Someplace where people can keep their searches?), but this is most definitly not it. Firefox doesn’t have support for search repositories. It has a toolbar for search engines. Engines.

You’d expect a company who has a search engine as a major product to know what a search engine is, and that it’s called a search engine. But they apparently don’t.

And those two aren’t all the articles, press releases, and official posts, which contain terminology errors. Just a small sample.

I can allow myself to make mistakes here from time to time. It’s a personal blog, I’m not an authority on anything, and I don’t represent anyone. But for anything official, by a news service or a large company, this is not the case. They shouldn’t make these mistakes. It leaves a really bad impression.

Trackbacks are out

May 19th, 2006

Not that it should be a big problem, it’s not like I’m getting lots of trackbacks anyway. But since it is a policy change, I may as well put a post on it.

Too many attempts at trackback spam lately, so all in all it doesn’t seem worth it to keep trackbacks. So for now they’re off.

Comments are still open, though. And will hopefully always remain so.

Lottery scam, by real mail

May 19th, 2006

A refreshing change (well, a change anyway) in all those scam attempts (Nigerian 419 types, or otherwise) everyone keeps receiving in email.

My brother received one in the mail. Regular mail. In an elegant envelope, printed on elegant stationary, and everything.

I know that these things also happen, and probably happened for a long time before email became so ubiquitous, but it’s certainly much rarer, and nothing I personally encountered before.

This one was a variation on the lottery scams.

The paper, addressing him by name, claimed to be from the Spanish elGordo lottery. And informed him that he won something like a million Euro.

Of course, not having ever purchased a lottery ticket in Spain, that’s not very likely. But they did have an explanation, this was a lottery done by randomly picking people from around the world as winners. Very convincing, no, to just randomly pick people and give them money, no need to apply?

They also mention that the money is transferred by a third-party, some security/insurance company, and that they’ll need to take 10% of the winning money as a commission for processing it. Another very convincing claim.

And there’s an attached form asking for all sorts of personal questions. Plenty of personal information, quite possibly enough for someone to even get into his bank account, for example, or for other identity-theft related reasons.

And most typical, though what I still find most peculiar about all of those scam attempts, the English was terrible. They did improve on the average by not having many spelling errors. That’s something that’s very rare for the emails. But the syntax and grammar, ouch. It hurt just reading the thing.

I admit, it’s quite possible that some random Spaniard off the street will use that as English, and expect it to be fine. I personally correspond with company clients from abroad who have worse English. But not when what’s written is supposed to be an official letter, sent by a respectable authority, and involving those amounts of money. And lottery foundation that can afford sending millions of Euros as prizes can certainly employ someone with reasonable English skills.

But those scammers apparently never can. Not once. Ever.

Sometimes I think these guys will have much higher success rate if people would only ignore those flimsy scam attempts because they make no sense, and not also because they have terrible grammar. With that language one can hardly even begin to try and take what’s actually written seriously.

And unlike the emails version, sending those real letters cost money. There’s postage, there’s the envelope cost, there’s printing the stationary on quality paper, stamping the paper and envelope with all sorts of official looking stamps. All sorts of stuff. So if they’re sending a large bunch of those, at least paying someone to go over the language would make sense.

Oh, well, can’t complain.

What I did find, however, is that throwing up these absurd amounts of money is actually helpful. It should have been obvious from the get-go that this is a fake. It was obvious from the get-go that this was a fake. But my brother, and my parents, still tried to check, and asked me several times to check, just in case maybe it is true.

They got annoyed when I told them, what they knew, that there isn’t a point in wasting time checking. They insisted. And when I actually checked, and reported back about the numerous reported cases of these scams, and obviously nothing real of the sort, they still kept insisting to maybe check again.

Almost sad to know that I share the same genes…

They got over it eventually. I just became more rude in pointing out all the obvious problems very clearly. But hey, send something that make no sense with a bait of a thousand Euro, and you’ll get instant scepticism. Do it with a million, and you’ll get a higher scepticism, but combined with a higher willingness to ignore it.

Depressing, actually. Even people who are relatively well off, and don’t need it, still get a little silly when the possibility of plenty of easy money comes off…

The supportive argument my brother came up with that most amused me was that they knew his name and address, and how could a scammer know these? Even before addressing the question, this is obviously a pathetic excuse, since by the same measure how would the real Spanish lottery know them, when he didn’t buy a ticket (or ever even been to Spain) ?

Just because something is an official institute doesn’t make it easier for them to know details that “nobody can know” compared to anyone else.

And, naturally, things like names and address are in lots of places. Easy, too easy, to know. It’s a major privacy issue, but also a part of life. Everyone (hermits and total paranoids excluded… sometimes) leaves their information in too many places. Almost any business or service someone interacts with will collect information, which can sometime include address. Plenty of government offices will as well. There are probably so many different registries that contain my brother’s name and address that guessing which one these scammers took the info from will not be possible.

Not for him/us, anyway. The police may be able to. If they get enough complaints, and can cross enough of the people somehow. But that’s doubtful as well, given how prevalent this information is.

At least nothing came off it, except for the amusement value. And the envelope and paper as small mementoes, if the police won’t impound them for investigation…

Bierodrome (in Kensington St.), London

May 9th, 2006

Bierodrome, Kensington St. London
My first evening meal in London this trip was on Bierodrome (Horrible website, BTW. Flash, hard to navigate, and impossible to link to the specific place I’ve been to inside the general site) in Kensington St. next to the Holborn Underground station.

The reason for selecting it was quite simple. Location. It was late at night, on the street I had to take from the musical I just saw to the Underground station, and I was after a sleepless night because of the flight. So since it looked alright from the outside I decided getting in would be preferable to starting to wander around the area looking for another place.

I entered, stood by the door, and looked around. There was a large bar in the middle and to the left of the room, a few tables (some occupied) on the two walls nearer the door, and an area with smaller tables across the room. The important thing is that there were tables, and there were a few waiters walking around.

So two options, either I needed to sit down and wait for a waiter to arrive, or I needed to wait for a host to bring me to a table. But there wasn’t any potential host or hostess standing near the door, or was there a sign asking people to wait to be seated. After a few more seconds during which none of the waiters looked to my direction, I decided I should probably sit.

So I did. Not the right decision, though. It took a little while, but I figured out that nobody is coming with a menu.

I stood up, and started walking across the room to the other side, where a waitress just passed. And was surprised to see that in the corner of the area on the other side of the bar, the one across the room from the entrance, and which is hard to see well from the entrance given the muted lights, there’s a hostess stand. And the expected sign of waiting to be seated. The smaller tables were the restaurant’s, and the larger ones were for the bar, and probably intended for patrons to come and get their own drinks.

Fine arrangement for returning customers who know the place, very silly way to organize a room where new clients may stray in from the street.

Menu outside Bierodome in Kensington St. LondonOnce there the waitress/host approached me, and I asked for a table. I sat down, and received a menu. Or maybe there was a menu at a container on the side of the table. I think both, she probably gave me the food menu, but alcohol menu was there. I don’t exactly remember, and it doesn’t really matter.

For the food I took their Sausage Platter. It’s been a while since I ate sausages, and the raw materials seemed interesting. Pork and leek sausages, Wild boar in Chimay Beer (whatever that is) sausages, and Chicken with sun-dried tomato sausages.

A platter of three types of sausages meant one sample from each kind. More would have been better, but I can’t say I was surprised. The sausages themselves were good, though. All three. Though there were differences in quality, with one just being nice, and one being really good. Not sure which was which, since the spicing blurred the flavours of the listed main ingredients, but if I had to guess I’d say the best one was the Wild Boar and Chimay Beer sausage.

The “Belgian Mash” on which it was served was dull and unimpressive. The “Forest Fruits Juice” seemed to be mostly cranberries cooked until they started to become soft and slightly saucy, but it was good, and add flavour to the mash.

For a drink, given that I was in a pub, and they had a wide selection of draft beers I wasn’t familiar with, I decided to try the beers. An experiment that went on throughout my short stretch in England, ordering a different kind of beer with (almost) each meal.

The most interesting one on the menu was a St-Feuillien Blonde draft beer, so I ordered a pint. It was the most expensive beer they had on the menu, but also sounded like the one I have the least chance of trying elsewhere.

And it was really really good. The taste was more sweet and delicate than the beers I usually drink (Though usually may be too strong a word given that I don’t really get to drink beer much), but very tasty and easy to drink. And, I think, better than the other kinds I got to try later on.

Overall the place seems really nice, the interior design is comfortable and gives it a good atmosphere, and the food has potential. They just need to work a bit on the service, both to actually pay attention to people coming through the door, and on the general attitude (While my waitress did everything she should have had, she didn’t even bother faking being interested or caring much).

And they gave me one of those loyalty cards, which provides 50% off the food bill after four visits. Not a bad deal as such offers go, but in my case I don’t expect to be visiting London enough to actually manage to use it much. Though who knows, they didn’t write a year of expiry on it…

Hamburger Union, London

May 9th, 2006

Hamburger Union in London
My first lunch in London was in a Hamburger Union. One of the two branches they have in the West End, but I don’t quite remember which one.

As it was the first day, I was still in a state of being appalled by the extremely high prices of nearly everything in London, food included. The prices are significantly above those I’d pay around here for similar things.

Actually, it’s pretty well known that the prices are above what most people anywhere on the world will pay, but there’s a difference between knowing somewhere is expensive, and actually forcing yourself to pay money for something you’re used to value for less.

It takes quite a while to get used to the fact, and to really feel comfortable with the notions that these are the prices and nobody is trying to rip you off on purpose.

Though, given the fact that the Soho, and most of the West End, are big tourist attractions, I suppose it’s also possible that to some extent everyone actually was trying to rip everyone else off.

The area has an incredible amount of restaurants, pubs, and their ilk. But as I was walking around I had the problem of looking at menu after menu, and saying to myself that there’s no way I’m paying the exorbitant prices they want. There were places with lower prices, but they didn’t look like places I’d really want to go into, or will really agree to be forced into…

And then I saw this Hamburger Union, which while definitely screamed Fast Food at least looked nice and respectable. And their prices, at least the burger prices, were high but not as insane as most everything else around.

So in I went.

The first room is small, and basically just has a copy of the menu, and the counter for ordering. After placing the order I got a numbered card, and was directed to the next, and bigger, room with the tables.

I picked a table, and placed the card in the holder. Which was a bit more complicated than it sounds. I mean, the system is simple enough, there’s a small stand and two edge grippers you can put the card in.

But the shape would be perfectly suited to holding just a single bigger card. And so far most places where I encountered such a system had a card per table, since two strangers usually didn’t share a single table. And so I wasted some time trying to figure out how to use the entire holder for my card, before it dawned on me that I only needed to use one side of it.

My order, a burger with cheese and bacon, arrived after about a minute or two. They do have dishes beyond burgers, but given the name of the place, and the price issue, ordering a burger seemed like the thing to do.

The burger itself was a bit on the small side, but very good compared to my expectations from a fast food burger. The cheese and bacon were also nice, and blended in well.

The bun was obviously not mass-produced. Which had the disadvantage of it having a really weird shape (someone spilled some dough when putting it into the oven), but the advantage of it not being the tasteless mushy thing that was also a part of my expectations. So that’s a clear win.

Since, as I said, I was still in price shock, I didn’t try any side orders.

One thing on the menu surprised me, though. They have “Protein Style” burgers, which are the same burger except that it comes without a bun, and wrapped in lettuce instead. More like no-carb style than protein style, since no extra protein was added. But they’re priced the same as the regular burgers.

Vegetables too were more expansive in England, but I’m sure a lettuce leaf costs a lot less than a bun.I don’t know, for a Brit it may make sense, paying the same for the burger since he only eats the burger, and not wasting a bun. But from the perspective of an Israeli this is extremely rude, as people are asked to pay the same for getting less. Never mind that the target audience for this won’t use the extra, they still pay for it. Many would explicitly opt to take the regular one and leave the bun uneaten.

Overall, not exactly gourmet food, but it was quite nice.

Some pictures from the West End in London

May 9th, 2006

These were taken on the same day, all in a very small area, so despite the lack of any other connection thread I’ll group them here for simple geographical reasons.

Note that the image links go to the full-scale images, so it can be a little bandwidth intensive…

Royal Opera House in LondonThe first photo is of the Royal Opera House (Which is also the home to the Royal Ballet). It looks much more impressive in real life, but it’s hard to get a good angle to shoot better pictures.

I didn’t go inside, and I didn’t see any show that they had there. Just an outside look, and an impression that it may be worth visiting some time.

Street lampStreet lampStreet lamp and phone boxesExposed wall lampThese are from the Broad Court street area. The area had some very nicely designed street lamps, and of course those still common quaint red phone boxes.

I found the last lamp amusing, with what seems to be a vertically standing fluorescent bulb, exposed and unadorned. On the same street as the rest of these designed lamps, and with its electrical cord dangling the way it is, it presents a somewhat jarring image.

Statue of a young dancerPlaque for Young Dancer statueAlso on the same location was this nice statue of a young dancer.

The plaque doesn’t mention any specific reason for it being there, or what was the reason for commissioning it, so I don’t know. Wasn’t critical at the time, and doesn’t bother me enough to actually try and research now. It looks nice, and adds some charm to the area, so I guess it does its job.

The only thing I don’t like about it is that this explicitly labelled young dancer was actually sculpted sitting. Instead of, for example, in the middle of a dance. Oh, well, artistic taste.

Museum and Library for the Freemasonry Grand Lodge of EnglandLamp on the Freemasonry Grand Lodge of England Library and MuseumThese are from the Freemasonry Grand Lodge of England Library and Museum building. The building itself is impressive, but then again plenty of the old buildings in the area are, so that doesn’t necessarily mean much.

Not having much to do with the Freemasons, either way, I didn’t look for anything inside. Actually, I wouldn’t have even if I wanted to, since the building, or at least this side of it from the street, is pretty obscure. They do have their Shield for anyone who would recognize it, but no clear sign stating what the building is in plain English.

Stansted airport, and how I didn’t cause a major international incident

May 9th, 2006

My flight to London, this time, was through Stansted airport.

Stansted is located outside and to the north of London. Quite a bit of distance from London, actually. Certainly when compared to Heathrow airport, which is the one I usually associate with London.

Stansted Express adIt’s possible to get to the city with buses or taxis, but because of the distance this is a far less attractive option and the train service, the Stansted Express, are pretty aggressive in advertising their availability there.

I was particularly amused by this huge sign with a very direct message saying “There are 571 traffic lights between here and central London.”, leaving it to the reader to decide that maybe risking standing all those lights (as statistically improbable as it may be) isn’t a good idea.

I landed in the morning, and wanted to make the most of the day, so taking the 45 minutes express train seemed like the preferred option. It cost a little bit more, but spending the extra time in London instead of in transit is probably well worth it.

Passport control and baggage reclaim passed relatively uneventful, except for the usual proofs that this is a very small world and wherever you go you’ll always see someone you know:

  • Somewhat ahead of me in line stood someone who I was friendly with during my military service. A nice guy, but odd (and coming from me that means something). He was even far worse than I am in the whole social business of keeping in touch with people, so it’s not too surprising we didn’t keep in touch.
    We got to talk a bit when the queue twisted in a way that brought us right next to each other (across a separator line). Turns out he was there to proceed to some film festival. And this despite him being in university, and the semester actually being in progress. We chatted a little, and exchanged a few pleasantries, but that was that.
  • Right behind me in line were a few woman who I was pretty sure came from my city, though I wasn’t sure if I know them because I saw them long ago in school, or because they’re patients of my father and I saw them in his clinic. We didn’t talk.
  • Further ahead of me in line was someone who looked, and sounded, exactly like a relatively well known Israeli actress, Liora Rivlin. I didn’t cut through the line, shoving people aside, to ask, so I can’t be sure, but there was a very close resemblance.

Then I passed customs (Yes, they need those Landing Cards that they give everyone on the plane, and yes, I have to fill in a local address on it, even if I’ll be switching hotels and travelling all the time so the address I give them is essentially only relevant for a single night), bought the train ticket, and proceeded to the train platform.

Where the real fun began.

I had with me my suitcase, and my carry-on bag. The bag is a shoulder bag, which I’m used to carrying pretty much always. The suitcase I naturally never carry around, and is just for travel.

So I stopped on the platform to look at the train routes and stations, to decide where I need to get off. And I left the suitcase for a second to take a pamphlet with the train information. And because the bag was still on my shoulder, everything felt fine, and I went on the train. Without, mind you, noticing that I left the suitcase on the platform.

Yes, I’m an idiot. Can’t explain it any other way.

About 8-10 minutes after the train left, I noticed that I’m missing my suitcase. I had a quick look around, just to make sure (I changed seats a few times after getting on the train, since it was relatively empty and I wanted to see which was most comfortable), but no luck.

This is when all the bad possible scenarios started running through my head. Accompanied by the knowledge that those bad scenarios are actually the likeliest scenarios.

One bad scenario which I actually didn’t think about was that someone may have stolen the suitcase. I was more concerned about the security response. Which makes sense, since the chances of station security noticing, or being alerted to, an abandoned suitcase are much larger than the chance that someone who just got off a plane and has taken the train will see a suitcase and decide to take it.

As for what station security would do with the suitcase, the only model I had to work with was the Israeli one. That’s the one I’m familiar with. And since the British seemed to claim to be on high alert, especially after a few cases of bombings in the trains and underground, it made sense they’ll have a similar model.

Which means that seeing an abandoned suitcase on a train platform, and one in an airport to boot, should make them think it may be a bomb.

Around here, they’ll evacuate the platform, and call the bomb squad. Depending on procedure, and on how worried they are, they may close and evacuate large parts of the airport.

Major incident, certainly newsworthy. Getting my 15 minutes of fame is fine, but I’d really prefer not to have it as the tourist who temporarily shut down a busy airport because he forgot his suitcase. Not to mention the prospect of losing most of the day in answering questions for pissed off police officers and security people.

Not only that, but if they had a really quick response time, and the airport had bomb-squad people on-hand, I may have found that somebody had already tried to put a bullet through the suitcase, or destroy it in some other way.

Hey, they even say so in their Safety and Security information page:

Please make sure your keep your baggage with you at all times and alert staff to any unattended package or bag – abandoned baggage causes security alerts and may be removed and destroyed.

Fun, fun, fun.

I caught the conductor on the train in a hurry, and explained that I left my suitcase on the platform. He asked for a quick description, then called in to the station administrator’s office.

The conversation was shorter than I expected. He didn’t start by asking them if they already found a suitcase, or if there’s a problem, or anything. He started off by saying hi to the guy who answered, and directly telling him that he have with him the owner of the green suitcase and is sending him back.

They didn’t ask what suitcase he’s talking about, which meant he was right in assuming they already found it. This just made me more worried, since if they already found it then they already had the time to do something about it.

Luckily the train had one stop between the airport and London, and I noticed the lack of suitcase a short while before we got there. Otherwise I’d have had to wait all the way to London before being able to return back for my suitcase. As it was the conductor just told me to get off on the station, and pick a train back.

The train back wasn’t due for quite a while (A Stansted Express train goes every 15 minutes, but the ones going to the airport don’t always stop at the same stations as the ones coming from the airport), but I approached a station employee who told me I could get back faster by taking another train a few stations back, then switching there for the following express train.

This went smoothly, and pretty soon I was back on the train platform in the airport, looking for the station administrator’s office. Wondering if I’m in a huge mess or just a big one, and hoping that my luggage is safe.

I reached the location, which was an office with a few uniformed people. One was standing outside the door, and asked me who I was.

I replied that I’m the idiot who left his suitcase on the platform (in pretty much these exact words), and waited to see what sort of a welcome I’d get.

He told me to hold on, went inside the office, and brought my suitcase out (whole). He asked me if this is it, and I replied that it was.

I got a “there you go, bye”, and that was that.


No questions, no complaints, no yelling, no nothing.

They saw the suitcase standing alone on the platform, and all they did was to bring it in to the office, and wait for someone to come and claim it.

On the one hand this is pretty bad security practice. Had the suitcase contained a bomb, or had it been booby trapped, it would have gone off and caught the security people and whatever passengers were nearby.

On the other hand I was, naturally, extremely relieved. The whole episode had cost me only an hour of time, and nothing else besides. And a large amount of other passengers didn’t have to have their plans put in disarray just because I’m an idiot.

I guess that this sort of thing happens often enough that responding in any other way is really not a cost-effective way to handle forgotten luggage.

I got on the next train, double checked that this time all my belongings were with me, and headed on to London.