This baby seagull kept us entertained for a little while with high pitched squarks and a balancing act, its wings, apparently not yet any good for flying were very useful as a balancing pole for the tightrope walk along one of the train lines. After a while it seemed to become as bored with the apology announcements about cancelled or delayed trains as we were and just stood sunning itself in its secluded spot. I’d like to think it jumped from its perch and ran clear of the train when the time came but I’m afraid my mind was engaged elsewhere with the argy bargy of getting a seat on a late, oversubscribed train.
A train journey starting with a seagull on the line must mean just one thing. I’m starting my journey at the seaside. My seaside – wow, that sounds good. I’m on my way to Oxford , it’s my first time back on a train so it’s an adventure in itself. I’m supposed to change at Bournemouth but due to the delays so far I’ve already missed my connection.
I’m trying hard not to sleep but I’ve been up since four am. This is the strangest jolt to my body-clock whilst changing from my life living and working in the twilight zone to my life now as a day walker, at four am I would normally be just going to tea break with most of my shift finished. Instead this morning I woke up very bleary eyed ready to start my day at five-thirty, but with a wonderful bonus of finishing my shift at half past ten and still having most of the day left.
Anyway, my mind wanders again. I must have dozed for a few seconds or possibly more since the gentleman who had gingerly asked permission to sit next to me was gone. He’d reminded me of a sort of Clarke Kent. There was nothing very Super about him. Quite the opposite really, he did hide behind dark rimmed glasses though and folding his tweed jacket on his lap he clutched his rucksack to him after a failed attempt to put it up on the luggage rack. I know, Hubby says I’m gullible, a victim waiting to happen, he could have just as easily been a terrorist clutching a bomb in his rucksack and not a Clarke Kent at all.
However, he was gone and a slim blonde haired lady lowered herself into the seat, tugging at her suitcase to put it on her lap.
“Are you going further than Bournemouth?” I asked.
This is where I found out she didn’t speak English. Hmmn, never mind. I’m more than a little used to people not having a clue what I’m on about and so it didn’t take long to find out she was going to London, a lot further down the line than Bournemouth, so we swapped places. She moved to the window seat and I settled back in the seat next to the aisle ready to move easily when my stop was announced.
I sat back and tried not to blink for too long this time. I heard a baby cry from the next carriage. Once a mum, always a mum, my ears pricked up as the cry hadn’t been a happy one, actually it hadn’t been a normal baby cry at all. There it was again. It sounded more like a cat.
Ok, I checked, my eyes were open, I wasn’t having another one of those “Alice in Wonderland” moments. There it was again. It was a cat meow. But I was on a train …
I glanced over my shoulder. Oh how cute, I couldn’t help but smile. I watched for a while as the dark haired young lady with pretty eyes smoothed the cats. She had two on the seat next to her in separate black quilted cat bags but the clasps were open and she was stroking each cat in turn. She took out her mobile phone and pointed the camera in their direction while one cat reached into the other’s basket for more attention. Cuteness overload! I just knew I needed a photo of this to share with you, so me being me, I just asked.
“Next stop Bournemouth” came over the tanoy. I must have really closed my eyes for more than a blink earlier. I was hoping to ask the young lady for a little more of the cat’s travel story to share with you but instead all I had time to do was scribble the blog address down on a piece of paper in the hope that she will join us later and all can be revealed.
Ok, so there I was on Bournemouth station platform, obviously late because as far as I knew my train hadn’t travelled backwards in time during my forty winks so what next ? I looked for one of those tv screens, the ones you find in waiting rooms with the answer to life, the universe and everything on them but no chance they obviously follow the same rules as managers and busses, never one around when you need one. But wait I did find three men in yellow jackets and yes you guessed, they all arrived at the same time. However between them they managed to tell me that I had half an hour to wait for my next connection, exactly an hour after my original one and it would arrive on the same platform.
I’d been poking away at my phone writing my post for most of the journey so far and my battery was getting dangerously low so I bought a coffee and checked out the waiting room for a convenient socket to plug into.
The train arrived so I double checked with the three yellow jackets that it was heading for Oxford and settled down to the next leg of my journey.
“Tickets please ?”
Oh no, where did I put my ticket?
It wasn’t in my hand and I couldn’t remember putting it in my pocket so hopefully I’d put it back in my purse. I rumaged in my bag, sounding a little like a cat myself as the bells on my purse jangled when I pulled it out. But yes, my ticket was inside.
The bells on my purse were being given away by community police officers in our shopping street as a pick-pocket deterrent and although I don’t really like to admit to falling into the category they were aiming at, I do enjoy the excuse to jangle at times other than Christmas.
I needn’t have rushed though, the conductor was busy with two girls in the seats across the aisle from mine. I had bought my train ticket in advance and by selecting the right journey I’d travelled for less than half of the price on the day. Apparently they’d bought advanced tickets too but we’re traveling on a couple of trains earlier than their ticket said. A pretty smile and a flutter of the eyelashes very often works wonders but not in this case. If the young ladies wanted to continue on this train they would have to pay up for another ticket.
The conductor stood his ground but he was turned a little by their smiles. He gave them the option of getting off the train at the next stop and waiting on the platform there until their correct train came along. I’m not sure the prospect of waiting on the little platform in seemingly the middle of nowhere was too attractive but I guess it was more attractive than the option of explaining away the cost of an extra full price ticket to the bank manager.
I’m sure we went into Reading station facing in one direction and then back out facing the other . Either way, we’ve just passed Didcot power station, or what’s left of it, which means we’re almost in Oxford and I’ll soon be on the final leg of my journey followed by a nice cup of tea with Mum-in-law followed by an evening spent with my girls.
And tomorrow ?
Well tomorrow we’re all off to “Longleat” for the day before I make another train ride home.