Some journeys have a knack of going bad. . . and then just getting worse. So it was with yesterday’s little trek. Around six and a half hours round trip all for the sake of fifteen minutes with the unspeakably debonair Mr T and his verdict on my post-op healing.
And it started with such high hopes. Brighton. Its an absolute bugger to drive. So I had a bright idea. I’d whizz down to Bedford, hop on the Thameslink (or what used to be called the Thameslink) there – and then I’d wend my way directly north-south thru London and on to Brighton. One train. No stopping. No changes.
Oh yes. That was the theory. I left myself loads of time and identified two trains that would get me there with tens of minutes to spare. Then I set off. On the outskirts of Bedford I was happy: I knew I would miss the first of the trains.
But I still had twenty minutes or so to find the station, get parked and on to the platform. Simples! (as a meerkat has never quite said).
Except Bedford appears remarkably short on those friendly red oblongs that indicate the whereabouts of a station. Oh. There are a couple. But matters aren’t helped by the fact that the town has two stations and its definitely not saying which is the main one.
So. In increasing desperation, I made my way thru the town centre, asked a couple of passers-by and a policeman for directions, crossed roadworks, screamed in despair at the learner in front of me who decided to sit for minutes at a green traffic light, before pulling off just as they were turning red.
And forty – yes, forty! – minutes later I fell on to a train.
I think I was in a state of some upset. I phoned ahead to the clinic and was dealt with by the nicest woman imaginable (Trude, in case you’re reading). She calmed me down, checked I could still do my appointment, organised a taxi for me. In short, was an absolute miracle worker.
Not that she could put an end to the day’s run of bad luck. Her text telling me where to find the taxi only turned up after I’d been to the clinic – so I had to go get one afresh. The appointment, of which more in a minute, was positive…but then a rush back to the station, where I found I’d just missed a train again to Bedford.
No matter. I leaped on a fast one to Victoria…zoomed across London by underground and, had I caught the next train from St Pancras to Bedford, would have been about an hour ahead of myself.
No such luck. I ran onto the platform at St P’s JUST as the doors were closing on the fast train, meaning I had no alternative but to go downstairs and pick up another slow one. At this point, i was beginning to feel a close affinity with John Cleese’s luckless headmaster, in the film, Clockwise (a part of which, incidentally, was filmed at my old school!).
The day ended with a loop round to Milton Keynes to pick up a pc and, the only bright spot of the journey, a brief midnight stop at the MK mega-Tesco, which sells such absurd delicacies as goat curry. Then home.
Total time in examination room? Maybe ten minutes. Total time travelling? About ten hours. That is certainly one of the down sides of transition that no-one tells you about.