My head is very much like a shed at the moment … Full of all sorts of stuff which might be of use in the future, but I just can’t seem to put my mind to anything I need just now.
Well, I finally found myself on a train once more. At times I wondered if this would happen again, not so much because of covid restrictions, but more because of the restrictions to my “Covid confidence” put on me by my own little grey cells.
I’ve been off to visit Little Sister for a few days. I’ve had my tickets tucked away in my purse making smiles for a couple of weeks. Travelling on a Sunday is not always favourable, but our combined shifts had only given us two days clear with both of us off work and I was the visitor this time, so Sunday and Wednesday were my days to be travelling and Monday and Tuesday were to be our days for drinking coffee, eating cake and generally putting the world to right… “42”, life, the universe, and all that stuff.
I packed up my marbles and Hubby walked with me to the station. I was carrying a very important parcel with me, one I had wrapped up suitably for travel in brown paper and cling-film, and one I had to concentrate on getting to its destination safely.
The train left Weymouth on time, but as we got nearer and nearer to my station to change, my train became later and later so that eventually my planned stop at the inconveniences turned into a mad rush to swap platforms and plonk myself unceremoniously into a seat on the Cardiff train just before it pulled out. Although the train had conveniences, I very inconveniently had too much luggage to fit in them. So when my Dad messaged me to say he was waiting for me with the car in the station carpark, I’m afraid I made him wait while I went in search of an all together more needed seat first.
Monday morning arrived with rain showers, but we didn’t have anything planned, Little Sister was expecting a large shed to be delivered, so we just pottered around the house and waited.
The delivery driver was quite bad tempered and said he would only leave the shed panels on the drive and wouldn’t bring them into the garden through the gate because the path wasn’t level and it wasn’t covered by health and safety! Well, that was a first for both me and Little Sister, so we didn’t even offer to help and sat back down with coffee while he unloaded his lorry in the rain. Once he had gone, we struggled and brought the panels in ourselves and then set off to Cardiff Bay to spend our free points at Costa and enjoy a few hours pootling around the shops.
When I get together with Little Sister, neither of us do the adulting thing, and neither of us can make a decision. Therefore, instead of being able to decide between Wiltshire Ham and mature cheddar, or just the plain ham and cheese for our toasted sandwich, we bought one of each and cut them in half to share.
Strangely enough the same thing happened with our strawberry and lemon muffins after we’d finished shopping.
After another coffee, we headed off to visit Little Sister’s friend “The Runner”, so that I could deliver my very important parcel..
Covid has a lot to answer for, it’s been over a year since I visited Runner’s kitchen and took away ideas in my head with measurements on paper to make her a “Macrame curtain” for her kitchen but now that it’s smaller counterpart, the “Window curtain” is finished and fitted, I can complete the post about the “making of ” this one as well .
After more coffee, (the Runner knows Little Sister well) we returned home to the shed panels and set about them with the a couple of paint brushes and some grey paint in preparation for what was to be a sunny day in the garden the next morning.
The next morning arrived… But unfortunately the promised sunshine didn’t. After a very nice cooked breakfast out with Mum and Dad, we returned to the garden and attacked the shed… In the rain. The three base panels, two ends, four side panels and four roof panels took us most of the day to put up but eventually the pieces came together… And then the sun came out.
Eventually with the panels up we were able to manage with just the two of us and we let Mum and Dad escape while we continued into the evening. Little Sister carried on building the windows and I clambered onto the roof to clout some nails into the roofing felt.
The next morning Little Sister was up early for work. I had planned lunch with Mum and Dad before my journey back home so had booked a later train. However I hadn’t made my plans known and they had already made others so I got to play with the shed again in the morning.
The train home had been booked from Cardiff to Weymouth for a while, but the plans had changed slightly. Firstly I was getting from Penarth to Cardiff under my own steam. The bus would take me from the end of Little Sister’s road into the city centre, but I decided to walk at the Penarth end and get the train instead, thus just the station would need negotiating in Cardiff instead of any new road layouts created in the last twenty years or so.
It was strange walking through the streets to the station. Somehow things felt comfortably familiar, but not quite right, a bit like one of those dreams where you wake up surprised to find yourself still in bed after dreaming your whole day had already happened.
I trundled my case past the pub on the corner which used to sell pies at “School lunch” time, of course the pie window wasn’t there anymore. There was still a telephone box on the corner, but it wasn’t a red one. I passed the secondary school. The new buildings were quite striking, but the old stone walls and familiar black railings lined the pavement. I took a shortcut diagonally through the grounds of the church where a patchwork of memories triggered pictures from photos of family weddings and christenings, also of Brownies, Rainbows, and Todler groups.
I came to the station carpark and smiled at the “Chipshop dream“. The combination of memories and dreams swirled around in my mind like water in a bucket. With each movement of the water different thoughts came to the surface, just for a few seconds, and then they were gone. Then I saw the ticket machine and grasped at reality to concentrate and collect my prepaid ticket for the train to Cardiff.
With all of my marbles packed tightly in my yellow case, I sat on the train with my bag and my phone, and waited for Cardiff to arrive… My bucket of reality stirred again… Dingle… Grangetown… I knew, once past Grangetown I needed to be ready for the next stop, Cardiff, so I gathered my marbles, and remembered to breathe.
Arriving just half an hour earlier than needed, I found the right platform, visited the conveniences to hopefully avoid a repeat of my last journey, found a suitable waiting place… And waited.
My ticket from Cardiff to Weymouth had originally been booked to change in Bristol, but then cracks had appeared in some old trains and thrown the whole system into chaos. My train had been replaced by a number of replacement busses at first, but by the time I was due to travel, I was to catch my train at the original time, and change at Filton Abbey Wood, a small station just three stops away. The concentration held out and less than half an hour later the Weymouth train arrived and all I had to do was stay awake for the final two and a half hours in the same seat …….
No mean feat I can assure you, but I did it, and with my marbles and my luggage intact, I stepped out onto the platform, took a deep breath and filled my lungs with the familiar smell of my seaside.
More from before: a variety of “visitors and visitees“.