Z isn’t quite home, but is in England

Okay, let’s start with a couple of good points. There are very helpful staff to give information and they are being unfailingly patient and polite which can’t be easy when you’re being asked the same questions over and again. And I remembered a two-bar Kitkat I’d got in my bag, so I have had some lunch.

Otherwise, there is nothing good to report about British public transport.

I didn’t sleep last night, a brief nap around midnight and then I lay there waiting for 5 o’clock. We arrived at Gatwick at 10.30 and were on the train platform within half an hour. So far so good. I noticed that the expensive Gatwick Express is less than 5 minutes quicker than the regular train, don’t waste your money.

I knew I’d have to take a bus for part of my route, because that’s always the way on this line on Sundays (remember, the Bod didn’t consult me before he booked the holiday, I’d not have chosen to travel today). But I expected the bus either to start at Liverpool Street Station or to take a train some way and then be bussed. So I got off the Tube train, carried my suitcase up the steps (there are very few stations that are entirely served by escalators) and looked for the platform. No trains to Norwich. I found a notice board that said I’d have to get on the tube again, but it wasn’t clear and I had to ask. So I ended up on the same platform I’d left ten minutes previously and got the next tube train.

I arrived at Newbury Park and lots of us hung around for a bus. It’s about 12 or 15 miles to Ingatestone, but the traffic was heavy. I arrived find I had Neely an hour to wait. Helpfully, it was suggested that I take the train in half an hour (five minutes from now) to Ipswich, where at least there’s a coffee shop and I can pick up the train to Norwich half an hour after that.

I’ll let you know when I get home. Sorry for mistakes, you can’t see what you’re writing when it’s a long post from the phone.

14 comments on “Z isn’t quite home, but is in England

  1. Z

    Next time? I don’t think so.

    Just reached Colchester. Bearing in mind the hour’s difference, I’ve been travelling ten and a half hours already and there’s a long way to go yet. If I were alone, I’d cry. As it is, I’m reading Tom Sawyer on the phone. Can’t concentrate on the book in my bag.

  2. Z

    Funnily enough, it isn’t even the worst trip I’ve had on this line.

    On the final train, just left Ipswich. I’ll be home in about an hour.

  3. Z

    Well, it wouldn’t have, but I’ve got a portable charger which is jolly useful. It’s called the Kensington I think – it’ll completely recharge the phone so you’ve effectively got double the battery life. I’m using the phone plugged into it now, in fact. It was part of my birthday present from the Sage – that and the boxed set of The Wire.

  4. Mike and Ann

    Welcome home Z. It’s good to know you’re back. Public transport is very draining. Ann’s going up to Northern Sweden in a few weeks. I just hope their public transport is still better than ours, or at least more reliable – it usually is.
    Warm regards, Mike and Ann.

  5. Z

    When they work, I like trains. But I’ve just about had enough of them for now. Public transport outside major cities is dreadful in this country.

    Thanks, Mago

    Until two years ago, Weeza lived in London and so I could have stayed with her. But I still have to get back sooner or later and my worst ever journey wasn’t even on a Sunday.

  6. Z

    He was quite chastened at my reaction to his having booked the holiday at all, when I’d said he must check with me first. I have said to Wink that I don’t think I can go away with them again, we live too far apart for there to be any convenient meeting place, and I’m always the one to do most of the travelling. Pity, but I can’t face that again.

  7. Dandelion

    It makes me angry when public service people are not patient with being asked the same question. It indicates a lack of imagination, an arrogance quite unbefitting to their station in life, and a gross unsuitedness to their chosen occupation. Especially in the context of malfunctioning public transport, of which I also had a dose this weekend, though not quite as appalling as yours. I’m glad you’re home.


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