Sunday, November 3
Dawlish station, 10:45
Last night I could not sleep for some reason. I kept waking with my mind racing. Maybe the symposium was considerably more stimulating than I thought. Certainly parts of it related very directly to things I should be thinking about.
The taxi came at 8:10 and I was at the station at 8:25. The train left on time and then immediately slowed to a crawl. The conductor explained that we were on a long, steep hill and the weather had made the rails very slippery. The train might not be able to get up the hill, and we might have to wait for reinforcements.
Forty seven minutes of jerking and sliding later, the train reached the top of the hill and began to travel at speeds faster than walking. Now we are stopping at Dawlish station. We will arrive in London forty five minutes late, vindicating my decision to switch to an earlier train.
I will catch the Heathrow Express, and then sit in Heathrow until the plane is due. I will avoid cafés and stand at the recharging tables for an hour, and then sit reading the Observer. I will suddenly relent and race to The Bridge for one last bout of comfort food: traditional cumberland sausage and mash, with glazed onion gravy.
The plane will be completely full, I will have an aisle seat at the back – 28D fact fans – and the flight will be uneventful except for the fact that a go-slow by the catering staff means that there is very little food and even less drink. Thank goodness I stocked up with a Boots Meal Deal. Who can ever refuse Lucozade?
We will arrive twenty minutes early and I will be met by Irma and the junior cellist.
I will go to bed early to maximise the cat’s chances of disturbing me. I will not be disappointed.