Monday, 2 November 2009

Traveller's Tales

After years when, for one reason or another, we've seldom been away for long (and then never very far from casa nostra) I've suddenly done quite a lot of travelling. There was a weekend trip to Iceland in September. (Did I bore you with the photos?) There were a couple of day trips to London. Then last week a half-term meet up with my non-blogging wife who - in spite of sharing the same house as Charlie and me - we'd seen little of since September. (She's not on Twitter either.)

One of the reasons we've not travelled much is Charlie. The thought of negotiating airport security as well as keeping him amused while we waited to board and then enduring a flight meant we'd played safe and holidayed at home for the past couple of years. I'm no fan of flying either. At 6'3" I find sitting with my legs beneath my chin for several hours shades sticking pins into my eyes only marginally. In my whole life, and in spite of doing all the things like wearing smart shoes and a jacket,  I've only been upgraded once. And that was on a flight to Italy.

I had high hopes of a second upgrade the day Charlie and I went to London for the SuperSavvyMe launch. On the 15.10 from Kings Cross I found an empty seat by the disabled loos, left Charlie in his pushchair and enjoyed a bit of unaccustomed legroom. Another couple did the same thing with their huge twin buggy and two tiny tots. None of the seats had been reserved. There was plenty of room for both of us (which could hardly be said for the rest of the train, except - of course - the first class carriages). Charlie settled down for a nap; the couple opposite sorted themselves and the mum started breastfeeding the younger of the children. Which was when the guard appeared. Within minutes of the train departing, a disabled passenger arrived. And needed the seats. No problem. The signs clearly state they (quite rightly) have priority. But moving on a crowded train at such notice was going to be difficult, to say the least. Especially for the couple with two babies (one mid-feed) an enormous buggy and an even bigger suitcase. The guy not unreasonably asked for some assistance from the on-board staff. (We'd already heard the announcement often enough to know it by heart.)

Well, said member of staff kept saying he was happy. And that he would help. But in reality all he did was blather incomprehensibly into a walkie-talkie, stopping momentarily to tell us once again we had to move, that the train was about to depart, that we were holding up our fellow passengers etc. As I wandered with Charlie through carriages full of businessmen mid phone-call, lap-tops and briefcases spread out on the few remaining seats, I thought of all the empty space in first class. And at that point I decided that I really did need a holiday.

With a view like this, I'd say that it was worth the hassle. Wouldn't you agree?

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