Jonathan: Queen Street is such an easy station to get around and it took just a few minutes to get round to the Oban train, get the bike stored properly in the special bike racks (train has capacity for 12, which 4 times more than the HST to Edinburgh!). Now dark, so unfortunately I won’t get to see any of the wonderful scenery, which is a pity as this is the first time I’ve used the train between Glasgow and Oban. Time to raid my panniers for goodies to eat, and then put my head down for a rest after the excitement earlier.
Jonathan: Wonderful scenery all the way – especially after York, highlights being Durham, Newcastle on Tyne, Alnmouth, Berwick on Tweed. Delays due to a broken-down cross-country train and a ‘bridge-strike’ (ie a vehicle having hit a rail bridge) mean the train got into Edinburgh 45mins late. I now had just two trains, each 15mins apart to get to Queen St or I’d miss the Oban train. Waverley is a complicated station to get around, all the more so with a bike, having to use the lifts and even having to queue for them! By the skin of my teeth I got the next train and I needn’t have worried as there were few folk on it, and not other bikes that I knew of. Saw some lengths of the airport branch of the tram line under construction: didn’t design that but did do a lot of cleaning up of the topographical survey model.
Jonathan: On the train from Welwyn GC to Stevenage, the only space for the bike was across the double doors on the opposite side to the platform. Coming into Stevenage I realized that the platform there was on the side of the bike, and as a passenger was already up and tutting and looking to move the bike, I got up quickly to shift it myself. Soon I had a load of passengers behind me wanting off and tutting and huffing, so off I got. With 2 hours to kill before the next leg of my journey, I thought I’d find a bench in the sun and gather all my possessions around me. It was at that point that I realized I had fewer possesions that I expected: I’d left my rucksack and shoulder bag on the train!
The two contained not only all my travel documents, and my computer, both valuable and indispensible enough, but the shoulderbag also contained £6000 in £20 and £50 notes – the proceeds of the motorhome! I turned to go back on the train but the doors were shut already and the train was moving. I could feel myself sinking into a state of panic, and shaking with dread I tried to calm myself. Fortunately having caught the train from Welwyn GC 2hrs early and Stevenage being a manned station, there was time to do something. I found the station office and explained the situation. The station-master found out the identity of the train I was on and called the driver. It was already too late for him to check at the next two (un-manned) stations, but he’d do so at Royston. There was 15 minutes until then, so all I could do was wait on the platform walking round and round in circles with the bike trying desperately to stay calm and trust for the best.
As soon as the time was up, I went back to the office and almost immediately the phone on the manager’s desk rang: as soon as I heard him say “can you give them to the driver of the next train coming back” I sank into a chair and all but wept with relief. It was another 40 minutes before the driver handed them to me out of the door of his cab and said I was very lucky indeed. All the more so because on checking the contents nothing was amiss.
For the rest of the journey home the cash will be in the zip pocket of my trousers, regardless of how embarassing and uncomfortable bulge that makes! I’m now on the East Coast train heading north to Edinburgh, and it’s time for a bite to eat.
Jonathan: Discovered last night that the bike and loaded panniers is so heavy and wide that I couldn’t get it into the van, so cycled over to the buyers house, left the bike and walked back. Exchange of motorhome and payment now complete. Cycled up to the station, and found that the only way of getting the bike to the station ws a service lift in the Howard Centre, which you had to ask for – by going upstears. Instead someone helped me get the bike up the steps to the bridge from the Broadwater side of the railway. No cycle reservations can be made for this leg, but I need not have worried – very few peopele about, so no problem.Train coming in 15mins. Lovely sunny morning.
Jonathan: I’m sitting here in the motorhome, it stripped of everything personal except two piles of carefully organised items, one for each bicycle pannier. Three more big parcels of goods and chattels were sent off at the post office this morning – that’s seven in all now at a total cost of about £107. All that’s left to take with me are a few clothes and toiletries, plus oddments I couldn’t send by post, including two small saucepans and a 5 litre bottle of bicycle chain cleaning fluid!!! I’ve cleaned the motorhome out thoroughly, emptying and disinfecting the loo, santitised the plumbing, refilled the water tanks, polished every surface until it gleams, and got the paperwork ready. Just one thing left to do: sleep my last night in this dear old motorhome, and then drive in the morning take it round to its new owners. It makes me very sad: this motorhome has played such a crucial role in my life over the past 9 years. All the time I’ve spent in it, I’ve probably lived in it for more than two years, all told. I shall be glad to not have the necessity to have to live in it away from home, but for all that I shall miss it very much.