Despite the news that engineering works will be causing problems with rail journeys, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I are perfectly sure that we have A Plan.
We will drive (or, rather, my daughter will drive and I will try to remember the easiest route) to Barnham where we will park in the station car park before catching the train to Southampton Central. According to The Plan,
there will be plenty of time for coffee before we head to the Mayflower Theatre where we have £22 tickets in the Balcony to watch “Fat Friends.” At the end of the performance we will repeat the whole sequence in reverse, arriving home in
time to order pizza for Mr B and our son-in-law, Dunk’em Dave, who is keeping Mr B company while we two Jolly Girls are out enjoying ourselves. So well prepared are we that we have made ourselves an egg sandwich each to eat on the train, even though
we know we will not be particularly popular among our fellow passengers, egg sandwiches having a distinctive smell all of their own.
All went swimmingly until
we parked in Barnham station car park and looked round for a parking machine. You’d think it would be easy-peasy, now wouldn’t you? Plus we had more than twenty minutes to spare, which amounts to All The Time In The World. Doesn’t it?
Ten minutes later, we - this is a Royal We, meaning the Y of the DDs - had endeavoured to pay by mobile phone, following the complicated instructions on a rather small notice
we eventually located on the station wall. This apparently simple matter was anything but, requiring first registration, filling in address details, choosing and confirming a password, inputting the car’s make, model and registration number and, even
after all that, needing more information before we (Royal or otherwise) could pay our £5.20. At this point we spied a rail employee and asked if there might be an “ordinary” parking machine somewhere in the car park. He pointed two machines
out to us and (spotting that we were looking a trifle foolish) suggested we might have missed them because our view had been blocked by three Rail Replacement buses.
Five minutes later and we are still trying to pay for our parking. After entering details of the car (see above, the Daily Blog tries not to repeat itself, unless for poetic effect) the machine flatly refused to accept the proffered card. Second time
around, success - but now we had eight minutes to find the entrance to the station, buy our tickets, make our way onto the (correct) station platform and board our train. We made it with just three minutes to spare - my daughter commented, sympathetically,
that I was literally shaking.
“Shall we have our egg sandwiches now?” I asked, somewhat pitifully (I am, as you know, Always Thinking of My Stomach,
especially in stressful circumstances) - but my daughter thought we should wait another quarter of an hour at least. I nodded obediently; sometimes it seems as if we have changed places, my children and I.
It was raining as we collected a takeaway coffee to revive us on our walk to the theatre. There we joined the queue to have our bags searched (I was so very thankful we had finished our egg sandwiches on the train) as we entered
the building - only to find that the queue to collect tickets from the Box Office was outside. My daughter left me inside in the warm and dry while she went back outside, queued up, collected tickets and then had to join the end of the bag search queue once
You will remember me mentioning a few paragraphs back (if you’ve been paying attention - though I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve dropped
off) that our seats were in the Balcony. This turned out to be up a flight of 84 steps, which was Some Climb. By the time we took our seats in Row D (reached by going down another steep flight of steps) there wasn’t too long till Curtain Up. “We’ve
arrived!” we congratulated each other and the Youngest of the Darling Daughters doled out the Werthers Originals (my choice) and the Minstrels (her choice.)
Friends” was not as memorable as the reviews suggested it would be, though there were some keenly funny observations which would be familiar to anyone who has ever attended a slimming class. Not our favourite of all the many shows we have watched together,
this Darling Daughter and I, but then it’s always the company that counts. And there is no better company, in a car park, a queue, a theatre, or wherever than the Youngest of the Darling Daughters.
Today, our visitors cleaned the outside of our patio door and windows, clambered up into the loft to store all the Christmas decorations, coloured my hair (I am a new woman!), cooked
dinner and cleared up afterwards, leaving my kitchen sparkling clean before they headed off home.
I am truly blessed.