Last Train To London
I'm looking forward to the next two weeks.
I painted this little painting the last time we made an excursion to the southwest portion of this island. It's the view we get walking from St. Uny's Church in Lelant towards the island lighthouse off Godrevy Head.
On Saturday, it's time to head out again for two weeks of uninterrupted recreation & relaxation (R&R). I'm so looking forward to it. The sea, the sand, and, hopefully, the sun will make an appearance or two during our two-week stay.
I'm looking forward to enjoying more amazing experiences.
Most of our getaways always include some degree of scenic walking, especially when we go to Cornwall. "The South West Coastal Path is England's longest waymarked long-distance footpath and National Trail."
And, it's Poldark country too. The scenery is dramatic and gets more so as time goes by.
Poldark features the rocky cliffs and rolling seas off Cornwall, not to mention Aiden Turner's chest. Pretty damn good scenery, I'd say. The latest Poldark series dropped a couple of weeks ago, and we're chomping at the bit to watch it on that same rugged coastline.
I have to tell you I love the journey to Cornwall almost as much as the stay itself. It takes about seven hours, and it's an integral part of the holiday.
Peter, the silver-maned stately Lord of Essex Road Manor, is picking us up Saturday morning and depositing us at the train station in St. Evenage.
Peter's a hell of a guy. Though ten years my senior he has a magnificent full head of silver hair. I'm in a constant state of seething green-eyed jealousy. I've even been thinking about growing my beard long and doing a severe combover.
Thank you, Peter!
We'll take the train to Kings Cross, and a Taxi to Paddington Station. Then, we'll be winsome travelers on a smooth, relaxing five-hour journey through some of the most scenic landscape England has to offer.
We've had incredibly good luck with trains to and from Cornwall; So much so that I hesitate to bring up the one disastrous occasion we experienced about three years ago. It was dismal.
We were wrapping up a lovely week at the beach. The weather displayed uncharacteristic cooperation. Though we were disappointed to leave our little haven by the sea, we realized we must and trudged begrudgingly to the station for our journey back to the real world.
It's not too bad. We had booked reserved seats in the quiet first-class car. For a holiday, and on such a longish journey, it's the best way to travel.
We got to the station at St Erth early enough. So we sat down in an old fashioned tea shop at the station. It's a fabulous tea shop - a throwback to the 1920s - think "Brief Encounter" (a 1945 British Film for my American compadres, look it up). We usually try to leave early enough to allow some time for a cup of tea and cake before getting on the train.
We had forks charged, tea at the ready, and salivary glands fully engaged when we heard an announcement on the loudspeaker. They said something about our train. It sounded like, "The 'unintelligible static unclear' train from Penzance to London Paddington Station has 'static, random noise, screech, click, static, hum, click again,' we are sorry for the delay and any inconvenience caused."
Hackles had risen, ears perked, investigations were in order. A determined and, I must say, steely-eyed Andrea rushed to investigate. The swiftness of her departure was like a flash, a bolt of greased lightning. From my perspective, she vanished from in front of me and appeared simultaneously at the ticket office window berating some unfortunate clerical minion.
What they had said between the screeching and clicking was they canceled our train and replaced it with another. Okay, that doesn't sound too bad. Or does it?
What brought steam from Andrea's ears was: they did not replace the trains like for like. They had replaced our 12 carriage train with three first-class carriages, and a dining car with a four carriage commuter train.
Oh my god, what had the good and gracious master of the universe done? How would we survive? How would we keep our sanity? Our pleasant trip now felt like a slow week-long journey in a cattle car back to London thru Dantes nine circles of Hell!
"Your Last Train To London Paddington from Penzance is formed of four coaches, calling at limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. "
The ride lived up to our expectations too. There were loud, angry, and obnoxious people crammed into standing room only train cars. I'm too embarrassed to tell you what we had to do to get seats on the train. I have been authorized to tell you it involved, in part, elbows, foul language, and copious amounts of "hey, get out of my way."
The train was so crowded, the folks in the aisles were involuntarily nudging their way between the seats. In some cases, they were shoving their ample and foul-smelling derrieres in front of unsuspecting seated passengers (us) already jostled, overcrowded, covered with suitcases, and other debris.
What happened to our snack and beverage cart?
What happened to our quiet little trip?
What happened to our scenery?
What happened to our air conditioning?
What happened to our wifi?
Please, merciful angel, tell me what happened?
The whole experience reminded me of the Marine transportation "a$$-hole-to-belly-button" in what we euphemistically called "Cattle Cars"!
If you need a visual - here it is:
They crammed us in closer than a WWII landing craft in the South Pacific. We were keeping our heads down and hoped bullets wouldn't rain down when we stepped off the train.
Anyway back to our Cornish trip - as you can probably tell, we did live to tell the story.
After the fact, there were telephone calls made and letters written too. They included words like, unacceptable, horrible, cramped, vile, and a few other choice phrases. "How can you creatures from my bureaucratic nightmare sleep at night?"
After some negotiations and some strategic toing and froing, we ended up scoring a first-class trip the next year gratis from the Great Western Railway.
We've put all that behind us now and are on good terms yet again with our journey. I'm looking forward to two blissful disconnected weeks of bliss.
Until next week, I wish you and yours safe journeys and, of course, peace.
T - 249 DAYS
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