Jaqui's Daily Blog

In Which National Rail Enquiries Lets Me Down

I can’t help feeling cheated.


Yesterday, regular readers will remember, I reluctantly decided that it would not be a good idea to risk train travel in order to join the Rascal and his friends at Dinosaur World. In reaching this decision I was informed, not so much by Mr B’s dire predictions of Trouble Ahead, but by data provided by National Rail Enquiries which had decorated details of the 9.29 train to Clapham Junction with yellow exclamation marks and warnings not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Being the kind of person who hates to miss out on anything, this was a bitter pill to swallow - but swallow it I did. Yes, it kind of stuck in my throat for a bit, that bitter pill, but I comforted myself with the thought that for once in my life I had been sensible.


Then this morning, I received a message from the Youngest of the Darling Daughters who was travelling home after a night up in town watching a show I’d never heard of, saying that the trains appeared to be running normally. On line I went, only to discover that all the yellow exclamation marks against this morning’s trains had miraculously disappeared overnight and every train was running on time. Oh, National Rail Enquiries, how could you do this to me!?


My discovery had come too late for me to set off for Clapham Junction in time to make our 12 noon appointment at Dinosaur World. There was no way round it, I was missing out unnecessarily. 


The Middle of the Darling Daughters sent me photographs of The Rascal on the train, excitement personified, to make up for the fact that I wouldn’t be joining them on their journey into prehistoric times. She continued to send me photographs and recordings throughout the day - it was almost like being there. But not quite.


I took the bus to the shops, stopping off at the stationers to buy some file dividers and pockets. Yes, indeed, I am the Last of the Big Spenders. For some reason, I found myself telling the smiley woman behind the counter all about my Great Disappointment. Bless her, I’d only spent £3.75, she didn’t have to indulge me - but there she was, coming out with all the reasons why I should not be too unhappy.


Had I been able to travel to Dinosaur World, she pointed out, I might well have spent the entire ninety minutes when I should have been enjoying the whole Dino experience, worrying about what might happen on my journey home. Another day, and there would be another chance to enjoy myself - but without a care in the world. There would be other times, other experiences, to spend in the company of my grandson, she was willing to bet on it. 


What a very lovely person she was! Next time you are feeling a bit down, don’t bother with therapy, just head down to the stationers in the Goring Road and ask for the smiley shop assistant. You will probably need to buy something - a packet of envelopes, a lever arch file, a sheet of stickers - but that’s cheap at the price for a slice of Good Cheer. I can thoroughly recommend it.


Waiting at the bus stop for the Pulse to arrive and carry me homewards, my phone started ringing - My Boy and his boys on FaceTime wanting to show me their sledging expertise on the snowy slopes of the park near their Cardiff home. I was, as you would expect, all admiration especially being a Wimp of the First Order who would never trust myself to the equivalent of a tea tray and fling myself down a hill, snow-covered or not. At least not on purpose. It was great fun to watch, however, and filled in the time beautifully until my bus arrived. 


Later in the afternoon, the Rascal appeared live on my phone to show me the birthday present from his Grandad and me which he had chosen from the gift shop at Dinosaur World. Yes, how did you guess, it was another T Rex to add to all the other dinosaurs he has at home. He is well on his way to creating his very own version of Dinosaur World in his bedroom. 


How was his day, I had to ask. Was it everything he had hoped it would be? I decided not to ask if he had missed me, just in case he hadn’t. What with the dinosaurs and all, you understand. 


One day, perhaps, I will be able to see for myself - in the meantime, I am reliably informed that the whole experience was, well, dinotastic!


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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