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?


  1. traveling with a kid is like taking a caravan through the desert. An incredible hassle, but well worth it. I always used to factor in lots of help though -- like the free (is it still?) Meet and Assist programs all the airlines have where they meet you with a buggy, help you get through passport control, etc. But in the meantime, I'm trying to help your wanderlust by blogging about my seemingly incessant travels -- though I'm home now for a month or so. I'm reliving the baby years through you. You can live out your wanderlust through me, eh? :-)

  2. Stunning. Yes, it was worth the aggro...

    I simply think any parent who travels with a small child (under 5 say) is a superhero really. I could just about stomach Centerparcs in the car! xxx

  3. Meet and assist, Sue? Wow, I've not come across that one before! I'll remember it for next time and - in the meantime - do my traveling vicariously through your blog, thanks.

    Hmmm, quite fancy the superhero status, Jenny. I could be the knackered nappy-changer, or the weary wanderer. The caped crusader better watch out!

  4. Yes, definely worth the hassle, although I was on the train and ended up walking through four carriages to find a seat including a practially emoty first class carriage. I'm sure Virgin would have done better, on second thoughts!

    You did well to get acorss London. When IJ was inn a pushchair I could never have managed it, and the London Underground. Hope you are not put off travelling to London though.

  5. Parents with kids are often treated as third class systems on the UK's public transport service - and it ain't good enough!

  6. It looks very nice, but where is it?

  7. Finally did the holiday thing abroad this year - it was great but we went under our own steam and drove. I have yet to pluck up the courage either to go by train or on a plane with my two!

  8. Reading about your train journey exhausted me. Nothing worse than trying to drag a buggy through the middle of a train where it doesn't fit, with a struggling toddler under your arm too.
    Oh wow, yes well worth the hassle. Beautiful.

  9. Wow, how lovely. Hope you're enjoying it one hundred percent. That train journey sounded vile and brought back some unpleasant memories of struggling with N3S on my own on the tube. Ick.

  10. You mean you and @JoBeaufoix weren't actually traveling first-class Rosie?

    Considering the numbers or us using public transport, you're dead right Steve. Perhaps they ought to schedule a parent special? (On second thoughts...)

    That's the view from our balcony at Alcudia last week, CW. Rather better than this morning's view of rain and wet leaves, I can tell you!

    It's enough to make you hunker down and stray no further than the corner shop, CM. If only I had something like the Tardis to transport me to delightful destinations like Alcudia!

    We are, or were DJ. NOw we're just basking in the warm glow of recollection... Wonder how long that'll last in this weather?

  11. I'm sure I left a comment yesterday but it hasn't appeared...

  12. Jealous of your holiday? Me??? (Great to meet you the other week, btw!)

  13. What did it say, DD?

    Oh it was, Emma, it was. Well, it still is... but we're no longer there to look at it.

    Oh thanks, PM. And me, you! (The photo-shoot looked great fun too.)

  14. you know what, I wish they made special parent and child train services and parent and child flights designed specifically for buggies and wiggly little ones. Big sigh.


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