I’ve had a busy time this week and on Saturday and Sunday I ended it with a flourish.
I had set my phone alarm for 5am on Saturday morning. This was to enable me to catch a train from Warwick Station, on the first leg of a journey to Brighton at 0704 and I hoped it would work correctly. I’ve never been that confident of accurately setting this new phone that I’ve possessed now for four months!
In any case I had gone to bed early the night before to make certain that I had a decent sleep for the long day ahead. But this only resulted in my waking at 3am and then not being able to get back to sleep again. I was acutely anxious that my alarm might not go off and consequently never managed to slip back into sleep.
Eventually, fed up, I dressed at 4.30, made a cup of tea and drank it whilst shaving. Later the alarm went off as scheduled.
Patterns on thin ice
It had been a cold night with the air temperature just below freezing and there was a thin film of ice across the surface of the canal when I slid the after hatch open to go ashore so the air must have been quite still over night. But early in the morning the bitterly cold fresh south easterly breeze had got up making the already freezing conditions feel much colder.
It was a tedious train journey to say the least. Of course I had chosen to travel on one of the weekends that Railtrack had designated for upgrading the track all over the country. On both the leg to London Marylebone and from London Victoria to Brighton, all normal services had been changed and trains were running to an emergency timetable only.
It was a long, long journey and five hours passed before I arrived finally at Brighton. I then had to wait for a further hour for my son Rupert’s delayed train to arrive. There is no enclosed waiting room at that station and I became bitterly cold hanging around in the open.
I made enquiries regarding the journey home only to find that due to the same restrictions, I would have to leave Brighton on a train at 1704 in order to ensure I would arrive at Warwick that same night....... So it seemed in retrospect hardly worth my coming at all with barely three hours at my granddaughter’s party.
When Rupert arrived we caught a taxi and manoeuvred our way to the address, through very busy traffic.
The party was already going full swing and it turned out to be a very happy one and just as lively and chaotic as any normal third birthday celebration is. Unbeknown to me my daughter Emma-Jane, everybody calls her E-J, was there with my grandson George, which was a nice surprise, and when I told her of my plight in having to leave before five, she quickly suggested that I go home with her and stay the night at Loudwater, returning to Warwick on the Sunday. As she had come by car it meant that I could stay at the party for a bit longer.
It sounded like a wonderful idea and one that I was unable to resist. As a result I was able to stay at Millie’s house for further couple of hours in the end. Millie is Delilah-Rose’s charming mum, a lovely lady whose ancestors originally came from Jamaica. My son Rupert is the father, so Delilah-Rose’s skin colour is a beautiful shade somewhere between black and white. I think she is a very beautiful child and certainly boys’ heads will turn as she grows up, I’m sure.
Later it was lovely for me to be able to spend the night quite relaxedly at E-J and Steve’s house. This was a pleasant surprise I hadn’t planned on. We chatted on for a while after having something to eat before going up to bed.
I was very tired and slept well.
Though ‘Futurest’ was very cold since both fires had gone out, she was still very welcoming and I couldn’t help thinking that it is always so good to be home.
Arriving back after a couple of days away, I always have the same happy feeling of welcome from the ship and like she did on the first day that I ever saw her in Great Haywood, she seemed to be greeting me with open arms, as if to say; “Where have you been? I’ve missed you terribly!”