A friend treated me to a ticket to Hampton Court flower show this week - and as always, the day was eventful! How we manage it, I have no idea, but every single time we go out, something happens!
The plan was that we travelled by train - she would leave from Brighton, and I would pick up the same train a couple of stops on. Simples. Or so you would think!!
I got up early, cleaned the chooks out, walked the dog, showered, changed (what do you wear in this changeable weather?) and drove to the station. Luckily I managed to park, which meant I was rather early, but already I could feel the excitement of a rare day out beginning to kick in! I was there, it was almost 10am, and the train would be there at 10.34. Perfick.
Having already purchased a ticket, I managed to negotiate the new automated barriers and arrived safely on the platform. Then there was an automated announcement over the tannoy something like "STOP VANDALISING THIS STATION....SECURITY IS ON IT'S WAY" and the maintenance men who were employed to take down advertising boards and put up new ones just yelled a few choice comments back at the speakers!
I wandered back off the platform to find a coffee, which was in a little van outside the station, but decided that at that price, I would leave it and grab one later, maybe on the train. I returned to the platform to see maintenance replacing a broken bin liner holder. They had to snip off a large plastic tie, which I noticed they threw on the floor, rather than in a bin!
Then one of the earlier trains was cancelled....and another....and then one came backwards through the station........things obviously were not quite right! Never mind.... my train is ok. Then my phone rang. My friend said she was on the train, which was still in Brighton station and it was absolutely packed. Their driver said there had been a breakdown at our station.
So another announcement at my end: " I AM SORRY TO REPORT THAT THE 10.34 TO LONDON VICTORIA HAS BEEN DELAYED. APPARENTLY THIS IS DUE TO A BREAKDOWN ON OUR STATION, BUT I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING, CAN YOU?" Ha ha ha - that was funny.
Anyway, time went on and a train going in the wrong direction stopped at out platform, which was a bit odd! I decided to get a coffee from the van, but apparently they had no water!!! There were a few tense people on the platform and the most helpful staff member trying to sort it all and giving out compensation forms, despite being almost completely devoid of any information from Brighton. So I managed to tell them (via info from my friend) where the train had actually broken down. My friend kept in touch, and eventually, about 40 mins later, said she was on her way. I told the station man and a few other people not in earshot, and there was another announcement:
" WE ARE SORRY FOR THE DELAY TO THE 10.34 TO VICTORIA, BUT THERE IS A LADY ON THE PLATFORM WHO HAS A FRIEND ON THAT TRAIN, AND APPARENTLY THEY ARE NOW ON THEIR WAY" Ha ha ha !!!!! That really made me giggle.
We had arranged that when the train pulled in, she would wave out of the window, but I knew the train was packed and I also knew from previous experience where the train would stop, so........the train pulled in.....no sight of her so on I jumped! The phone rang and I told her I was on, so I battled through the heaving carriages, past the coffee trolley...until all of a sudden I saw all these people waving at me and calling out my name!!! Ha ha ha! What a welcome! Hilarious! Not only had my friend been relaying the story to the people she was delayed with in her carriage, but also some passengers from my station had got on directly into her carriage and knew what was going on and told her where I was!!!! Ha ha ha! We had such a great journey, with some incredibly entertaining people, but because of the delays the train ended at Croydon, and my goodness, there were literally hundreds of people trying to get on the train to Clapham Junction. I had to suck my tummy in to get on and many were left behind!
Once at the Junction, and getting on the sedate and empty Hampton Court train, peace and sanity reigned supreme.
So a little delayed, but perfectly happy, we travelled onwards to the flower show........
(to be continued in a new post!)