It seems I have been a bit remiss, and have not blogged for a while.
This is because of, um, well, it is probably coz I have been quite busy, and so forgot, but in today's world, that sounds pretty lame.
Had a busy weekend. It was an old college friend's 50th party in London Saturday lunchtime, and due to lack of baby-sitters, I went alone. It was a fine event in a lovely venue, and the only fly in the ointment was the travel.
On the way there, my travel was fine until I arrived at King's Cross tube station, at which point I read the details of the weekend work to determine that, as it happened, that was as far as the tube could take me towards my destination station, the Barbican. In the round, probably could not have got much nearer anyway, but this was a school-boy error, and one corrected by me deciding to walk the last couple of miles. In the pleasant but cool day, it was a nice stroll through some uninspiring bits of North London.
Once there, it was clear that my travel disruption had been but naught compared to others, who were an hour or more delayed. This meant the event started about an hour and a half later than billed, a fact that became relevant to later travel plans.
The meal went on forever, made none the better by me having a dry January. Being in the presence of a roomful of people taking advantage of the free drink (thanks Taff for that) is always interesting if you are sober.
We had the slow three courses, followed by dessert wine, and coffee, and speeches, and the opening of presents, at which point it seemed okay for me to make my excuses and leave, only to be rung by LO as I was leaving, to ask where the hell was I?
I knew I was running late, about 5.15pm at this time, so decided to cab it to Victoria, to catch the 5.46pm down South. I arrived at a sprint to find this cancelled, and a lot, and I mean a lot, of people milling around thinking the same as me. Would I get home tonight?
Anyway, I decided to risk the Gatwick Express, to get me at least that far, at which point, I figured, there are bound to be more trains doing the south trip.
And so it passed. We took 50% longer that we should have to do the trip, but we arrived, and found a train, only it was not the train, and then it was. We got nearly to Three Bridges when we stopped for half an hour. We then limped in to the station, on platform 3, only to be told that our train would not continue south, but would instead go back north, and so we needed to change to the train on platform 1.
Meanwhile, those on the train on platform 1 were told that their train was no longer travelling north, but south, and they needed to alight and make their way to platform 3.
And so it was that five-hundred or maybe a thousand people were making their way between platform 1 and 3, down the ramp, along the tunnel and up the other ramp. Mayhem.
We needn't have worried though. Our train, and that on platform 3, were going nowhere fast. And so we sat for a further 30 minutes, waiting for things to shake down.
Finally, our train left the station, and told us that, first good news of the journey, the front half of our train would take us all the way home, separating from the back half at Barnham.
A quick discussion was had between myself and the two women sitting opposite me, as to the best time to move forward to the front half, us being in the back half. We agreed that sooner rather than later, to avoid any other last-minute hitches. And so we did, separately (I did not want them to think I was following them, strange, but rather handsome, stranger on the train and all that), to complete the last leg of our journey.
As we arrived in Barnham, having convinced ourselves that nothing else could go wrong, we were notified by the driver - who in fairness was full of apology - that the train was actually terminating at Barnham, and we should alight.
So, for the final part of our journey, I shared a cab with the two women with which I had had the discussion earlier, and due to a lack of change, one of the ladies paid it all, so my journey was free from cost.
That is how it was that I arrived at the dinner party LO and the Maggots were already at around an hour and a half later than I should have. Four hour journeys do that to your time-keeping. And don't forget, I could not even seek solace in a beer, being dry and all. Fortunately, the food was first class and the rest of the evening went off without a hitch.