After my late night drinking tea with Plumber I really needed to get an early night on Saturday but that wasn't to be. I had gone to bed and was just about to turn off my laptop when Plumber came online. We discussed where I would leave my car while I was off on my travels. I was meeting my colleague Cathy at my local rail station at 7am. (I must be mad!!). I had planned to park in a street not far from the station but Plumber was sure the station car park would be free on a Sunday. By the time we had finished chatting and I had checked out the car park situation it was gone 1am. Not clever considering I needed to be getting up at 5am.
When I arrived at the station at 6.45am Cathy was already there. Her first comment was that we were both wearing purple and black, my black trouser suit, purple blouse and accessories and her black and purple dress. Little did we know that when we eventually joined Boss Lady at the exhibition stand she would also be in black suit and purple patterned blouse.
We made good time arriving at the NEC at 9am but still had a long slow drive snaking along the road between the many car parks until we were directed to a parking space. We then climbed on board a bus (I was going to say jumped on but that would give an impression of fitness that isn't there). Hanging on for dear life as the bus swung us this way and that (it was standing room only when we got on). We were deposited outside the main entrance to one set of halls (luckily our hall was close by). A few minutes later we were checking out the floor plan to see where we should be. After 10 minutes of walking around in circles we were back checking the plan again. It still took a while searching before we found our stand.
I enjoyed the day talking to both current and prospective customers as well as meeting suppliers. (Thats something I don't normally get involved with as I am on the sales side of the business). It was very different meeting people face to face instead of speaking on the phone. Being cheeky and familiar with men I have never met before was fun as was showing off my memory for names etc.
The plan had been for me to catch the train home at 15.14 but it soon became apparent that that wasn't going to happen. In stead I set off for the station at 16.00 my poor feet hurting with every step made progress slow, it didn't help that I had no idea how far it was to the station, its all very well looking at a map.
On arriving at the station I rumaged in my bag for my ticket before looking at the board to find my train. Looking at the arrivals board there was no sign of my train. Not suprising really as the clock was now showing 16.15 damn missed it !!! I found a seat and prepared to wait for the next train in another hour. I made my way gingerly on still painful feet down the steps to the platform at 17.00 giving myself 14 minutes of agony standing waiting for the train.
It was with short lived relief that I saw the train pulling into the station. The carriage closest to me was packed, people were piling into the corridor. Walking down the platform I found that each carriage and corridor were the same. I had no choice but to stand in the very last corridor taking up the last standing position. With my feet screaming silently objecting to this further punishment. At least it should be ok once we reach Coventry and other passengers get off.
Coventry came and went yes passengers left the train only to be replaced by others, Leamington Spa was the same, Oxford and Banbury too. Finally after standing for an hour I managed to get a seat when we reached Reading. Squashed into the seat with more people standing in the aisles it was not much more comfortable but at least I could take the weight of my feet at last.
When I booked my ticket I knew that I would have to change at Southampton but it didn't say which of the two stations it was stopping at I needed to change. I chose to get off at the first of the two and yes according to the timetable there would be a train going to my home town in half an hour. It was by now 19.40 my train was due at 20.11. it would be more comfortable to sit in the waiting room. It was until the announcement that the waiting room was closing at 8pm.
Back on the cold dark platform I examined the timetable again as the trains being announced didn't seem to be going in the right direction. According to the lists of times and stations the train at 20.11 would call at my staion but the train that was due then was going in the opposite direction. I crossed to the other platform to await the next train going to Southampton central. Once I arrived there I looked for the next train home, I found the time but not the platform. I settled on a bench to wait, calling DC for a chat. I then checked again for my train discovering that I was on the wrong platform..........I reached the correct platform where my train was waiting, pressed the burron to open the door only to find that the train pulled away without me!
Ok so there would be another in 20 mins and at east now I was at the right station on the right platform! My phone rang unexpectedly, I assumed it would be a family member but it was LV. I told him where I was. He said that if he had known he would have given me a lift home. Isn't he a lovely friend. We had just finished chatting when my train arrived.
I finally arrived home at 21.37 after a very long and tiring yet enjoyable day. I am glad I went but next time I think I will drive myself, it will be quicker and less tiring than going by train.
“Doing” a Doctorate – week 36
1 day ago