Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...
Yes, I know, I am sounding like Maria, she of the
Sound of Music. Any minute now I will be yodelling like a lonely goat herd and pulling down my bedroom curtains to make “play clothes” for my poor unfortunate grandchildren. However the point I am trying to make (I am, indeed, very trying as Mr
B is forever telling me) is that last weekend was simply full of Blog-worthy material - far too much for a single blog. I am not so overwhelmed with material that I can afford to miss out on such opportunities to ramble on regardless.
I will therefore start on Friday last, when I set off for the railway station to catch the first of several trains on my journey to the beautiful city of York. As usual, the Powers
That Be who arrange for engineering work to be carried out on our national railways, first consulted my diary to check when I was planning to make one of my few-and-far-between trips away. My last such trip, back in early November, saw me ending up stranded
at Gatwick, with no trains heading for my home station and my only option a trip to Brighton followed by a long and tedious bus journey. It was only the intervention of the Lovely Louise who had been looking after Mr B while I was away, that saved me the latter.
Fast forward to last Friday and the only way I could get to London as the first step in my journey northwards was to take the long way round, adding another half an hour
to my already long trip. As one Mr F Howerd once almost declaimed: “Infamy, infamy, National Rail has got it in for me..”
I was determined not to allow
myself to be fazed by such unfortunate circumstances. My train was on time, wasn’t it? Had I not made myself a chicken sandwich to eat on the train with a buttered bun for “afters”? Was I not armed with an excellent book which would make
the elongated journey a pleasure, rather than a pain?
I did have a moment’s mild panic when I thought my train might not quite make its connection
- I could tell I wasn’t alone as I spotted a number of fellow passengers consulting their watches anxiously every thirty seconds. There is, you know, Comfort in Numbers and we arrived at the station with a whole two and a half minutes to spare. In my
happy getaway mood, I conceded that All Was Well That Ended Well.
Approaching London Victoria, two whole hours later, I planned my next steps, my first step
being to pay a quick visit to the Facilities which, I seemed to remember from my last visit, allowed passengers a Free Wee. It threw me somewhat to find large notices on the station platform, proclaiming that the facilities were closed for “refurbishment.”
I wonder whether we will still be able to enjoy a Free Wee when they reopen?
Never let it be said that I cannot adapt to changing circumstances - I would
just have to wait until I made it to Kings Cross station. At the entrance to the Underground, I went to check on the map, just to assure myself, you understand, that nobody had moved Kings Cross station since I last alighted there. Well, blow me down, somebody
has changed the Underground Map! How could anybody in their right mind think that the map, renowned for decades as a miracle of excellent design, could be improved upon? I was not alone in standing in front of the map trying to work out what had happened to
Fortunately Kings Cross was where it was supposed to be so, after a short ride on the Victoria Line, I arrived and proceeded to check out the
facilities, my search being even more urgent by now. Following the signs to “Toilets”, I was dismayed to see a long, long queue snaking around the station forecourt. Presumably, I told myself, they had all been unable to enjoy a Free Wee at Victoria.
Then I realised that they were all queuing up for the Harry Potter shop...
Five and a half hours after leaving home, I alighted at York railway station aching
from sitting for so long and feeling tired and just a little crumpled - until I caught sight of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and granddaughter Hazel pretending to hide from me behind a pillar.
“Good journey?” they asked, as one. Somehow the trials and tribulations of my long trip northwards faded away into insignificance.