Well, that was a true lesson in farce. It's a damn good job I'm completely obsessive and over-prepare for every eventuality really. This morning, I was awake precisely two minutes before my alarm went off and the TV switched on. I grabbed the lappy and checked the times - the 7am train was cancelled, but there was an alternative route at 9.30, so I called the taxi and rearranged.
The first, second and third connections went without a hitch though there were no announcements or screen or station service at Pen Mill, yet there was all three at Castle Cary where absolutely NOTHING happens. A quick change onto the Sheffield, a pleasant journey with legroom to boot - all going a bit TOO well.
Lo and behold, the Cleethorpes route had been cancelled, leaving us stranded in the city. "There's no alternative service. The line has been closed for a week." Well, it would have been nice if either National Rail or Cross Country websites actually SAID THAT! They were all for telling us about the line closures on the 26th, but NOTHING for today, even though our route was redirected at 6 this morning?!?! WTF NR?
So here we are, sat in the magnificent metalworked station, Victorian iron scrolls supporting a huge, snowy glass roof, sipping hot drinks and profusely thanking the lovely, lovely staff at Caffe Ritazza. My hot chocolate is pretty good, and His Lordship's coffee, whilst not the finest in the world, is certainly a passable "cuppa joe". The dragons were intensely grateful, as the kind people here also refilled their hottie bottle. Special thanks to my Mum too, for my ridiculously long black snake scarf - some seven feet of woolen confection, and wraps perfectly twice round their basket twice to stop the icy breeze in the lobby whipping through the wicker. (Pic: Tom Ley.)
We packed about twice as much lunch as we needed to and of course I have brought my trusty laptop with me, so we're not short of anything. With a bit of luck there might be a train at about 5pm, but nothing's confirmed. Failing that, there's a Travelodge close by and hell, we're in the middle of a goddamn city. There's not going to be a shortage of stuff here, surely?
(Note: He's designed "coffee on a stick" by threading his stirrer through the cardboard hand protector round his cup. If it breaks, I'm going to be the first one to laugh when he gets tepid drink in his lap. It didn't break. Aww.)