Today I’m wearing: The Dress; my belt; cotton tartan-y skirt with big pockets; grey woolly tights.
I can’t drive, and this means I have to rely on public transport to get me around the country. Now, I’m not great at being on time for things, but I always try to be early for trains and buses; I’ve missed far too many in my time.
So I set off at 7a.m. from my mother’s house in Ripon. She gave me a lift as far as York, and then my step-mother took me to the station. At this point, I was 25 minutes early for my train, which made me happy. I may have been chilled to the bone by the winds that ceaselessly blow through York station, but I was not stressed about missing my train.
I was just buying a paper, when I caught the station announcer saying “Edinburgh Waverley, platform 9”. That was my train! I hurried over, to see an East Coast train pulling in, assumed it was mine and jumped on.
It was not till the train pulled out of the station that I realised I was not on the right one.
This was discomforting, for two reasons:
- I knew that if you had an invalid ticket for a train (and I did), the train guard would make you buy another one. I did not have a spare £82 for a new ticket.
- I had a first class ticket for my actual train, so I was missing free food. You’ve no idea how distraught I was at the thought of all the food I should have been eating going to waste.
There I was, stood in the first class vestibule, not sure which way to turn, until the cleaner man took pity on me. He took me to the train guard’s office, and I waited outside to explain what had happened. It felt like being called in for a bollocking.
But the kind, kind guard took pity on me and used her fancy tickety printy machine to look up stops the trains had in common. Fate was on my side! They both stopped at Darlington, so she suggested I get off and hang around there for a bit to pick up my true train, which I did.
My real train was late, but I was content to wait. My focus was on my growling tummy: would I get my complimentary bacon sandwich? As you can probably tell, it was a tense half hour for me. The train pulled in, and I got on. There was my reserved seat, there was the East Coast mid-morning menu, there were the mugs waiting to be filled with complimentary organic tea and coffee, but there were no sandwiches to be seen. I sat nervously. I’d skipped breakfast for this. Was my complimentary foodie pleasure to be thus forsaken?
For the second time that morning, I was in luck.
The lovely Mikaela appeared, bearing hot drinks, and uttering the magic words:
“Would you care for anything from the mid-morning menu, madam?”