Thursday, 5 June 2014
Keep Calm and Travel Well.
I am not a great traveller, but since I gave up the day job and embraced the life of the very temporary employee, I have spent quite a lot of my year getting from A to B and back again. Last year, I clocked up over 20 flights and this year I've already handed over 14 boarding passes. I can't say that this type of travel is enjoyable as I always seem to end up next to the passenger who needs the seatbelt extention or a nappy and dummy, or diaper and pacifier for my US readers. My one flight on a private jet excepted, I don't enjoy being stuck in a metal tube. Most of my trips involve connections with trains, ferries and buses and inevitably, delays, strikes and bad weather can upset itineraries. I cope with this by accepting my fate. I allow enough time and a bit extra, but don't stress if it looks like I'm not going to make my connection. This inner zen was strenuously tested on my trip to Scotland. After spending a couple of days with my folks in Dorset, I arrived at Gillingham station in good time to catch the train to Gatwick via Clapham Junction and was pleased to see it was on time, but the train didn't appear. After half an hour a muffled noise came over the tannoy, the only part of which I understood was "broken down". The train wouldn't be coming until a replacement was found. My " bit of extra time" had already evaporated and I was eating into my "enough time" allowance. I went back to the ticket desk and asked if there was any other way to get to Gatwick and was astounded to be hurried into a taxi and whisked across Dorset, at South West trains expense, to Salisbury station. The fare was ten quid more than my train ticket. At Salisbury, I was on the train to Clapham junction in minutes and back on track only 50 minutes delayed. I was just thanking any omniscient being who may be listening when yet another tannoy announcement ruined my day. Due to the long delay, the train wouldn't be stopping at Clapham Junction, which is why I found myself at Basingstoke staton, waiting for yet another delayed train. I eventually got to Gatwick seconds before the bagdrop closed and just made my flight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the return trip next week is less eventful and I can get back to blogging.