First dear readers, you’re going to want a little back story. When we arrived at Heathrow back in April we decided to keep luggage handling and missed connections to a minimum so why not keep everything on rails? We spent an hour on the tube to King’s Cross station, where we’d catch a train all the way to Sheffield, then pick up a cheap rental car. All things considered, an excellent plan. Not as comfortable as you might imagine, nevertheless it worked very well until an unintelligible message delivered at breakneck speed (people of Europe, please slow down) came over the intercom on the train. We’d been talking to a nice young man who reacted negatively and stood up frowning.
“Here, I’ll help you with all your bags, we’ve been terminated!” he said.
The loudspeaker continued to emit garbled noise and our friend could see we were spent and uncomprehending. He told us to stay put and he’d find out what to do. It turns out there was a jumper down the line and we were going no further on these tracks. We were rerouted to another train and our friend and another young man helped with our luggage, got us settled, and stayed with us until they were sure we’d be alright.
After a long day of traveling we finally made it to our destination and come to think of it, we nearly always do.
Four weeks later we planned the reverse: return the rental car and hop on a train. On paper it looked easy.
Car Return Day found us approximately one hundred miles away from Sheffield with a nice relaxing plan. My goodness, things were going swimmingly. With over 2,000 miles driving under my belt I expected nothing less.
Full English in the morning, easy car drop off, Uber to the train station with luggage, coffee and a Danish, and soon we were relaxing in our reserved seats on a clean and comfortable train. We were heading north to Glasgow and our campervan, soaking up the scenery as it glided by.
Somewhere before Manchester I heard a familiar message over the loudspeaker. The train stopped and out we tumbled with all our luggage onto an elevated platform cold enough to be New York in January. Another jumper, incident under investigation and the tracks to Glasgow were closed. What are the odds? Two trains, two jumpers. Our fellow passengers shrugged. I guess it happens a lot.
They must teach their loudspeaker announcers how to garble any message but we think we heard “platform 9.” The magical thinking was that, sure we’re going North to Glasgow but York, in the wrong direction, has a bigger station and you might have a better chance to catch a train maybe all the way to Glasgow.
Just as our feet hit the platform in York a railroad employee yelled, “Passengers to Glasgow, please hurry to platform (garbled.) The train is about to depart.”
It’s a large grand station. We tore off with the rest of the dispossessed Glasgow passengers, gasping as we dragged our luggage. Up the stairs and down the stairs and we might be heading for platform 9 and 3/4 for all we knew.
Finally Marce ran ahead and found the bloody thing. I didn’t care any more. I chucked the luggage into the train and climbed aboard as the thing started to move. Wait, we’re going East! Not North! We were heading East, all the way to the coast, then north following the sea, stopping at every small town up to Edinburgh, then west to Glasgow. And no cushy reserved seats.
I’m a little unclear about the rest of the trip. Something about an Uber, a Travelodge and a room that looked like it had been robbed of most of its furniture, dinner out of a vending machine in the lobby, a bed.
Tomorrow we pick up our new home and that’s all I could think about.