I was quite comfortable there, next to the window of the train. It would take me to a town, Westbury, where I would transfer to another train and step in to First Class - surprising, isn't that? I had been surprised when I found the ticket weeks ago. First Class for hours while heading south and west, complimentary food and drink - the works! I did not hesitate. I hit 'purchase'. And it was only 18 pounds.
I was so excited about getting to Westbury. On the way, we stopped at a cute little train station, and I started to take a photograph of it. But suddenly, I noticed that the station I was photographing WAS Westbury, and I was meant to be OFF THE TRAIN.
I began grabbing my belongings and calling out to the conductor, "I have to get off here!"
A flurry of excitement greeted this statement, but just as I reached the door, it closed. And it locked. The conductor looked stricken, and said, "But why did you not get off at Westbury?"
"There was no announcement of Westbury!" I gasped. This was true enough. But one really should be watching for one's own station and have one's own wits about them. Oh dear.
"And what am I to do now?" I sort of wailed. The conductor said that there was nothing for it but to get off at the next stop, dash over the tracks, hop aboard the next train back to Westbury, and get on the train to my destination. But, oh woe!
"It leaves here AFTER my own train departs from Westbury!" I exclaimed to myself with a moan. My First Class fun was slipping through my fingers and I was about to cry, when suddenly a taxi cab drew up to the curb. I didn't even think about it, I RAN toward him and babbled out something that resembled my dilemma. "Right," he said, "In you get. We'll make it, never fear," and off we sped.
Here is this good man's photograph from my vantage point in the back seat. He is talking about his first grandchild (who is a one-year-old boy) in order to distract me from my nerves.
We arrived just as the train pulled in, I threw the 15 pounds at him, and ran. I could hear him calling after me, "Have a wonderful time in Cornwall, my dear!" I wanted to hug him but there was no time.
The conductor conducted me to my First Class car, helped me to my seat, handled my bag, and instructed the trolley lady to give me some free food. I think I could get used to First Class trains.
The entire trip from that moment on was a delight. The seats are soft, and spacious, and dreamy to sit in. Every now and again the trolley lady comes by with more goodies (all complimentary, of course), and there is absolutely no crowding and no lines at the loo. The loos in First Class, BTW, are spacious too. I cannot think of any bad thing associated with traveling First Class.
And just look at what was peeking out at me upon my arrival in Cornwall!
Gazing out over this scene, I suddenly remembered the lyrics to a Carpenters song I once sang:
Such a feeling's comin' over me,
There is wonder in most everything I see.
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes,
And I won't be surprised if it's a dream.
And I'm on top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find,
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around,
Your love's put me at the top of the world!
-Richard Carpenter, John Bettis, 1972
That is exactly how it felt, Readers dear. The sweetest, sweetest thing.
See you along the way!