On the train
When I was a little girl I was terrified of trains. I have no idea where that fear came from. My earliest memory of trains and stations was as a 6 year old travelling from Southampton to London to go to the circus with my father’s company. There was a crowd of us and in my mind’s eye I see a huge engine with a big number on it. Did I see steam? Not sure. I know we had tea on the train with little pots of jam which I regarded as very posh.
My next recollection is of going to catch a train because the car had broken down and we needed to get back home. It was daylight and I was terrified so screamed and screamed! My father was SO embarrassed!
So, me and trains have not had a happy relationship. Bringing the story up to date – enter hubby Nick. Unlike his brother who is a fanatical train spotter, Nick just likes them especially the steam variety. Gradually over the years, we taken the train occasionally and I don’t know if it is the passing of the years or my getting older but I’m OK with them. I even asked to go on a longer journey after a short trip on a steam train as I found the clickity, clickity and gentle rocking really comforting.
Earlier this week, I had to go to Wales for a presentation. It was on Monday and that meant I didn’t have the car. The school were really keen for me to attend and offered to pay the train fare. I was also going ON MY OWN! Now at 62 that should be OK but since I have retired Nick and I go to most places together and he takes the lead. This trip was a way to re-skill myself in travelling.
I boarded the train at Bristol Parkway which is not Bristol’s main station but it has recently had a face lift and is now providing quite a comfortable service. I was impressed to see a porter assigned to helping passengers with their luggage despite the ladies protesting that ‘we can manage’.
The carriages are really very smart now and having gone into one designated ‘Quiet’ it was a good experience. Gradually as we passed stations the language began to change. I was definitely entering a foreign country! There was always a translation though.
There was quite a marked difference between Cardiff Central station and Bristol Parkway. Apparently Cardiff has been earmarked for refurbishment. I just loved the ‘Information Desk’ which was 3 folks at the end of the corridor! Just look at that wonderful tiling though.
Of course, after my meeting, I had to do it all again but reversed. It was comforting to see the trains were on time!