The excitement hasn’t officially begun, and already, the excitement has begun.
Steve dropped me off at Lime Street early this avo, meaning that I didn’t have to walk to Ormskirk and then from Central to Lime street in Liverpool. This worked really well, because although my case only registered 21.6kg on the old bathroom scales, it’s damned heavy. My train departed on time – it turns out that the seat reservation system chose to honour the “airline style” part of the preferences expressed, and I was facing backwards with a small corner of window in my window seat.
Mustn’t grumble, though, as my last boss used to say.
It was all going swimmingly until we got to Crewe. Where we stopped. For a long time. The guard at first came on and told us that he didn’t know why we were stopped, then that he now knew why (overhead lines at Rugby causing problems & diversions), but nobody would commit to when the problem would be resolved, so we will be here for at least another 20 minutes. We carried on, eventually, and then had another sit outside of Stafford. And then carried on veery sloowly, finally getting to Euston at T+2h7m. On a 2 1/4 hour journey… Ooh, there was grumbling. I got through Richard Herring feat. Josh Widdicombe *and* most of an episode of Stash & Burn, which meant that by the time I wanted to gripe properly to Steve about being late & let Ken know my new ETA, my phone was down to 1%.
So, 100% more journey. The good news is that as it was a one-way ticket (because I’ll be coming home straight from Gatwick) we can get a full refund I think. Huzzah, that’s a cost-saving right there.
So, Milwall fans? Yes, there were. They arrived at Crewe, and enforced their seat reservations, which meant much shuffling and the lady who had been happily sat next to her companion was now sitting on half a seat next to a chap who had insisted that as he had the window seat, he ought to be sitting in it. Also, it’s the seat with access to the all-important plug. Nice lady and her partner moved a short time thereafter. Other than that, they weren’t actually that rowdy, other than reacting loudly to the guard’s announcements. The downside to that was that several times I wasn’t able to catch all of the detail to what the guard was saying, but frankly, the upshot of it was generally “we’re really late and I still can’t tell you exactly how late”
So, I took my super-heavy suitcase on the tube (turns out a really heavy suitcase is quite tricky to manoeuvre on an escalator. Who knew?!) to Vauxhall where my Hounslow connection could be made. There was a last-minute platform change, which had me panicking for a moment, given that I’d barely made it up the stairs once, I wasn’t up for running down stairs & up to another set of platforms, but this just had me turning round and crossing to the other platform.
This train ran on time and wasn’t too crowded, but those of us with big luggage elected to stand. Other big-baggage passengers who got on at Clapham were a couple who had clearly come from Gatwick (tanned, sunglasses, lots of talk about how cold it is) and a butch-looking probably-woman who wouldn’t have looked out of place carrying skis.
I’m not sure how this happened, and clearly this is a travesty, but these 2 groups of people struck up a conversation and I stayed out of it. It turns out, chap from the couple had just been on the blower to his mate at home who has just been found out to have a gambling problem (the downstairs neighbour came round & asked mate’s partner for the £6k back that he’d lent the chap’s mate) but, oh how we laughed, he kidded his wife that the mate had been found to be on the gear (to the tune of the 6k). OH HOW WE ALL LAUGHED. She took it astonishingly well, so I can only assume that she’s never really liked the mate very much.
Anyway, the conversation rattles on, and probably-woman is asked what it is that she does that is taking her back to Dubai at the end of the month. There is a pause.
“I’m a welding manager”
Well, that explains the 2 missing finger-tips, I guess.
“…and in my spare time, I’m a little… Eccentric.”
In fairness, she makes a good-looking woman, although clearly not foolproof. Good luck to her, we all said (or thought, remember, I’m the enigmatic non-crazy-person-attractor today) and, in my case, resisted asking where she’d got that nice tunic from because it’s exactly the kind of thing that would work in my own wardrobe.
And there we have it, I’m in Hounslow, so very much not there yet, but it’s been eventful so far. Tomorrow I meet the rest of the party and at high noon, we set off for exotic LHR.
There are no pictures, because my phone pretty much died. And, having not joined the conversation, a photo of my new not-friends would have felt a bit inappropriate…