Saturday, August 18, 2012

Train to Edinburgh

Okay, that was stressful.

I am now on the train to Edinburgh.

I am facing backwards, because people took my seat I booked and they're fully installed with laptops and are not getting off until Milton Keynes. I have some vague idea that that's not too far away.


I was right! It was the next stop. But still not particularly close to London. I'm now sitting in my proper booked seat with a table and a window. We're waiting at Birmingham New Street Station until our scheduled departure time, and I've spent the last hour talking to a lovely lady from Northern Ireland who has family in New Zealand and has now left the train for a quilting exhibition (though she told me I wasn't allowed to tell anyone that).

The stress of my day could have been slightly reduced if I'd left the house earlier, but not by much. I got the bus to the tube to the tube to Euston Station and arrived with twenty minutes to spare, but realised I hadn't written down my reservation number, and the email with it wasn't cached on my iPad. I had to access the Internet to get it off my email account, which is supposedly possible at tube stations, but yu,re never in a tube station long enough for the email to realise it has Internet and download stuff. So when I got off at Euston, I was madly trying to load emails and failing terribly. When I got up to the ticket hall I was going to go up to the ticket office and talk to someone, but then I got Internet (after typing in about three wrong passwords/email addresses) and found my reservation number. Success!

So I went to the ticket machine, which, unlike the ticket office, had no line, put in my debit card and my reservation number only to be told that I had to present the original card I'd used to book the ticket.

Problem: the original card I used to book the ticket was later copied and used in Mexico, so I cut it up.

Back to the ticket office. Twelve minutes to spare. Wait in the line, only to be told I was at the wrong ticket office and the right one was up in the main hall (I hadn't realised that this was not the main hall). Run to the main hall. Find the ticket office, with queue of ten people. Nine minutes to spare, and I see a sign that says train doors shut two minutes before departure so it was really only seven minutes to spare.

I asked the ticket man if I could jump the queue, and he said I had to ask everyone in the queue (fair enough, I guess). So I did. I asked every single person if I could go in front of them and they all said yes! One man told me I should have gotten up earlier, but he still let me past.

The man at the ticket desk was very nice and understood my situation very quickly, took down my reference number, looked at my ID and gave me my ticket as well as instructions to get to the platform. I ran all the way and got there just in time, hauled my suitcase onto the train and tried to find my seat. Which I think is where I came in at the beginning of this post.

The train is a Pendolino that sways so it can go around corners really fast, and it will take just over five hours to get to Edinburgh. I'm excited.

Impressions of the Lake District haiku:

Soft, knuckled green hills.

Full brown rivers, drifting mist.

Strangely no lakes yet.

Ooh! And now I've heard the infamous Virgin Train beeping noises, the ones no one knows the purpose of.

And I guess I must now be in Scotland. Only five minutes until our destination... Where did the last two hours go?


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