This weekend I went back up to Scotland to celebrate my eldest son’s 40th birthday. K was off to respite for the week which explains why I was making the journey alone. We did all our packing on the Thursday so that we would not be rushing about on Friday, and K was due to be collected by the Access bus at 11.00am. I was not due to catch my train to Glasgow until 16.05pm from Leeds as I had chosen to journey on a ‘straight through’ train with no changes to make between Leeds and Glasgow.
The day had begun well enough with K and I doing the usual checking and re-checking that we both had everything packed in our suitcases, and following that we patiently waited for the Access bus to arrive. They have never, all the time that they have been collecting K and we are talking here of at least six or seven years, been late, in fact they are usually early because if any of the drivers are dropping passengers off around this area, they will often pick K up whilst in the neighbourhood. Of course this has never really been of much concern previously, as I have never ever been setting off anywhere for it to matter whether they are early, late or don’t turn up at all, so you can imagine my angst when 11.00am came and went with no sign of any Access bus reversing up the nearby road. By 11.15am K was beginning to panic and asked me to phone the Access bus headquarters.
“Oh, the driver has missed seeing her on his list,” I was told following the guy contacting the assigned driver and ringing me back, “he has some passengers to drop off first and then he will collect her, it’ll be about 12.00pm.”
Hmm. Funny how this occurs just when I am setting off somewhere for the first time ever when K is in respite! Needless to say, about 12.15pm the Access bus did eventually turn up and I waved K off as usual. Then I had a shower to refresh myself and then got ready for my own journey. I had been in a ‘bit of a state’ to be honest with you, visualising as usual the worst possible outcomes of making such a long journey all by myself. I was pacing up and down and trying to keep myself occupied and calm but it was a losing battle. Why oh why do I get so uptight? Why can’t I be cool, calm and collected? The waiting was the worst part, and I was so glad when I could finally lock the door and catch the bus to take me down to the station. I had decided to catch the earlier Leeds train as I reasoned that if that missed then there was always the later fast train to get me there in plenty of time.
Leeds station was very busy as usual but once I had arrived, I had lot’s of time for a toilet break before making my way to Platform 9 for the Glasgow train. When I had been trying to get a reservation on this train, all the ticket staff at Leeds (and the lady at Cross-country trains) had insisted that it would be a quiet train with plenty of spare seats, but judging from the amount of passengers waiting with me to climb aboard it, I was so glad that I had insisted on reserving one. The platform was jam packed! It seemed as if the whole population of Leeds was off up to Glasgow!
When the train eventually pulled in, I made my way to Coach C, parked my suitcase in the luggage rack, and found my seat 13. Hurrah! A window seat . Boo! Facing backwards! And it was now that I was to find out the pitfalls of travelling by oneself. The train was busy. First of all a lovely young lady sat next to me who confessed that she hadn’t reserved a seat, but as we got chatting she hoped that the person who had reserved it from York might not catch the train, then she could remain there. She was using one of those lovely little netbooks and of course we struck up a conversation about that as I am considering getting one. Trouble was the passenger who’s seat she was occupying DID get on at York, so she had to vacate it so that he could sit there. He being a young man who then spent his entire journey listening to music on his iPod. He didn’t attempt any conversation with me at all!
“Come back K, all is forgiven!” I thought to myself. (Her constant chattering can become annoying at times, but oh, how I longed to hear it right then! Its such a long journey to make sat next to someone who doesn’t speak a word to you. I had my tea which I had managed to carry in my voluptuous new bag (now you see why I search and buy huge bags don’t you?) I had some prawn salad followed by some fruit, both in plastic containers, washed down with a bottle of fruit shoot spring water again carried in my bag. I would have actually preferred some tea, but of the mysterious ‘trolley service’, which incidentally had been announced way back when leaving Leeds, there was no sign. This train journey is of such length that the train staff change over and we had some new staff board at Newcastle. I knew this because ‘Peter’ who introduced himself as we boarded at Leeds, departed to be replaced by someone else (sorry didn’t catch his name over the tannoy) who was to be our train ‘person’ for the rest of the journey to Glasgow.
Ahh! As we departed Newcastle the trolley suddenly made an appearance! Now for the longed for cup of tea! Also at Newcastle the iPod young man departed to be replaced by a dark suited older man who again spent the entire rest of the journey in total silence, although he did have a habit of constantly getting up and disappearing along the carriage. I kept thinking he had either disembarked or decided to sit somewhere else (seeing as now there were plenty of vacant seats) and so I kept putting my bag on his seat, only to have him return some minutes later much to my annoyance.
The whole journey so far (as far as Edinburgh) had really flown along, we had not been held up at all or stopped between any of the stations that we called at. I rang my eldest son just to let him know that we were on time, and would be landing in Glasgow at 20.25pm. Once we left Edinburgh though the journey was not quite as fast as before. I love travelling by train especially up the East Coast main line. You have the sea on your right hand side and some beautiful countryside on your left. It really is one of the most enjoyable train journeys for anyone to make. The journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow is also very picturesque as it passes through the mountains and some gorgeous scenery.
And so we arrived at Glasgow central. It had certainly been an experience for me and not all pleasant, especially the getting used to sitting next to some stranger and travelling in total silence. As I stepped from the train, my granddaughter came running towards me closely followed by my youngest grandson and my son and his partner. I was so pleased to see them all and we quickly made our way to his car for the journey from Glasgow to their house. I wondered what they had planned in the way of days out for my short visit. After all, the weather was staying fine. Find our where we went in my next post.