No, no, I went on cross country trains. Pause here for horror and shock.
The Monday before Christmas I ventured forth. I'm a nervous traveller, I don't like other people driving, I don't care that it's an aeroplane or a train, I don't trust anybody else, I'm not in control.
I dropped and momentarily lost my ticket, I dropped two of my three suitcases before I got on the train, the ticket guy looked sympathetically at me, obviously recognising that I was already a wreck and let me through the barrier. The suitcases were not full of gorgeous clothes, they were filled with the blessed Christmas presents which seem to get bigger and heavier every year.
The standard class was crowded and of course there were three first class carriages almost empty. I could moan on about this but it's enough to state it. That and my frustration.
Everywhere I go enormous people sit next to me. I'm the woman who attracts men of eighteen stone with backpacks. You could be killed when somebody turns around in the tiny space of a standard carriage. There was no food of course, just before I got off two hours later in Manchester Piccadilly a trolley reached me. It doesn't really matter, I don't eat any more on trains I sit there and worry my way across country.
The tickets, which you had to go through a barrier with before you got on were checked twice more on the train. There was nowhere to put one suitcase, never mind three. The only good thing about my suitcases is that they are a rather delicate shade of pink,can be seen at half a mile and I can't see why anybody would want to steal one.I did see a woman once getting off with what looked like my suitcase and I panicked but the poor soul just had the same awful taste as me.
The change at Manchester wasn't too bad, only fifteen minutes wait. It was bitterly cold but I got to Knutsford on time only to discover that my daughter who was picking me up from the station was caught in a traffic jam on the M6 and would be at least an hour. I struggled over the blasted bridge, stairs at both sides and eventually reached the ticket office and begged the man for a warm waiting room or a hot drink. Alas, there was neither but he must have caught the look in my eyes because he provided hot tea and biscuits and the heater from his office for me and another woman who had spent two hours in an unheated train getting the few miles from Chester.
So this week's Hero Award goes to the station master at Knutsford whose name I do not know. I hope he had a good Christmas.
Knutsford has a Booth's. Booth's is like a better Waitrose, a small family company based in the north west and almost a good enough reason to move. Booth's is just that little bit posh, in a sort of apologetic way, as though it means to be down to earth but can't quite help being slightly up its own backside. One of its joys is that the staff are proper north western people and call a spade a spade, not quite like in Durham where we usually call it a bloody shovel.
The streets are filled with old ladies who wear Barbour clothes and expensive walking boots and gentlemen who wear brogues, and the park, actually its called the Moor for some reason, is filled with lots of other old people walking recognisable dogs like spaniels and Scotties.
In the bank some man thought I was from Workington. I'm not sure whether it's a compliment or not but different than usual where people think I'm Irish. The girls in the bank were dead chuffed as Barclays had awarded them four days off. Almost a holiday. The library was closed as well and while I don't begrudge the librarians time off I did miss the library being open. I feel rather lost without it as here it's open on Sundays.