Thursday, November 12
A Virgin East Coast train, 8:30
The taxi was early this morning but I was earlier. I was outside the house and 6:05 and driving down Itäväylä at 6:10.
I got to the airport, checked in in seconds, went through the border controls, and decided on the spur of the moment to have a Whopper for breakfast. It was cheaper than a chicken wrap. I felt as I sat there eating it that Auo would have loved the idea of a Whopper on the way to London. In fact she would have insisted on it, just for the thrill of the experience. I sat chewing as it turned into an Auo Memorial Breakfast. The must unpredictable things bring her into mind and then keep her there.
The plane took off 45 minutes late and landed 40 minutes late. My timetable was tight because I had to get to Kings Cross to collect my preordered tickets from a machine before getting the 10:00 train to Doncaster where I will change for Sheffield.
I decided to spend £21.10 on a ticket for the Heathrow Express (“Paddington in less than 15 minutes”) because I estimated that the tube journey would take about 45 minutes and leave me racing around Kings Cross.
I paid, got on the train and in less than three minutes we had left. Then I sat in the Heathrow Express for 35 minutes as we waited outside the airport behind a train with faulty brakes. It might take hours to fix, we were told. I watched two later Heathrow Express trains go past us. They apparently knew about the issue and switched tracks.
We finally reached Paddington 75 minutes after we set out. We were goven instructions on how to claim a refund. I was too late for my train, which had left 57 minutes after I boarded the Heathrow Express. I got to Kings Cross and tried to negotiate myself a new ticket to Sheffield. It couldn’t be done. As far as they were concerned I had failed to turn up for the train I had booked and that was all there was to it.
I bought another ticket to Sheffield which was considerably more expensive than the one I had been unable to use. When I tried to use this one I was told it would only work from St Pancras, so I then walked through the rain and down the road where I discovered that the trains from St Pancras stop at every village with more than twelve inhabitants.
I am now on a Virgin East Coast train moving at walking pace through the English countryside. The wifi allowed me to pay for it and then stopped working. I don’t mind: its more or less what I have come to expect.
I am completely confident that I shall arrive in Sheffield any day now.