Friday, August 10, 2012

Not with a bang but a whimper..

One of the problems of having a blog break - or a period of blog bone idleness - is that when you come back, you do want it to be with a bang not a whimper.

There was something of a bang last week after a visit to a garlic farm on the Isle of Wight, a tasting session and a garlicky lunch, but I’m betting you don’t want those details. It was a fantastic place though and, assuming you treat the garlic loading with a bit of respect, you’ll probably be fine during the following twelve hours.

I didn’t have a great journey to the UK. My first blister appeared before I’d left Bangkok airport. It turns out that you can’t put feet that live for eleven months of the year in flip flops, into contained shoes and not expect injuries. My plasters were in my suitcase (of course) which I couldn’t get into because I’d sealed it with a plastic cable tie: one of those things that goes on but not off unless you cut it. As well as not being able to carry any cutting implements on a flight, I’ve discovered that no members of the airside personnel are allowed to have scissors either.

I’d stayed up to watch a film on the flight – totally against my better judgment - and didn’t have enough sleep but things began to improve a bit at Paddington station. I thought. I found someone that had scissors and finally broke into my own suitcase; I found Vodafone open at 7am where I got a sim card sorted and I found a Starbucks where I drank tea and ‘What’s Apped’ Husband.

I just didn’t have the energy for the underground so I treated myself to a taxi between Paddington and Charing Cross. I tried to lift my case into the taxi but, in spite the laws of physics, it was heavier by several kgs than when I’d left Bangkok. And, damn it, I’d been taking things out of it… alright, so they were only plasters, but it was eight of them. How could it get heavier?

I could have slept in the taxi if it hadn’t been for the alarming rise of the meter. Although the Olympic vehicle lanes hadn’t yet opened, several of the roads were shut around Buckingham Palace and Whitehall so the fare was higher than expected; still, it was much easier than the tube.

At Charing Cross I thought I’d better replenish my dwindling funds so I went to the cashpoint but hmmm: no card. I searched through the crap vital receipts and cards in my wallet in case I’d slipped it in somewhere for ease… Nope; definitely no bank card. Through my addled brain I knew there was only one place the card could be: Vodafone. But, for heaven’s sake, they’d just sold me a sim card, so why hadn’t they rung me to tell me I’d left it there? I pulled out my phone: four missed calls and two text messages… I must have turned the sound off when I put the phone in my pocket.

I called my parents to let them know what kind of an idiot I was, put my suitcase into left luggage – ker ching! - and went down to the underground to return to Paddington – more ker ching! I was shattered by this time but so grateful to see that there was one last seat on the underground train. As the doors shut, I set off over people and their luggage to the spare seat. As I lowered myself down onto the seat, the tube train gave a great lurch and I landed in the lap of the man next door to my chair.

Things continued to improve over the four weeks (they couldn’t have got worse, surely?) I haven’t seen any friends – sorry to all of them but I am back in October – but I have had a rather lovely trip. My folks have been pretty good, it was my parent's 60th wedding anniversary and I’ve been on a couple of courses, which I will come back and tell you about soon. 


Shirley Wells said...

Sorry, I shouldn't laugh. That sounds like the sort of trip I have. No matter how well everything's planned, something always goes wrong.

Glad you managed to break into your case finally. And hope the feet are better!

sara crowley said...

Oh crikey, I can really imagine how you felt when you realised you'd left your card. You poor thing!
Intrigued by courses - do tell.

Jenny Beattie said...

Shirley, thank you. My feet are better now. Laughing was the best approach, I think.

Sara, actually once I'd got rid of the case into Left Luggage, I felt much better about the whole return to Paddington thing... The courses might surprise you!

Cally Taylor said...

Nightmare! I felt sick just reading about you losing your card. Hope life is less stressful now x

Jenny Beattie said...

Cally, thank god they were honest in Vodafone! Yes, thanks, it's gone back to normal now!

D.J. Kirkby said...

That journey sounds awful! I wish I had known you were on the IOW - so close to us! Hope to catch up with you in October.

Jenny Beattie said...

DJ, fab. Are you going to Helen's book launch? I shall be there!