Yesterday I made the journey back to university. The five hours or so it takes to travel between South East England and Wales can be a bit of a faff, so I thought I’d liven things up with another The Stages Of… post. Enjoy.
10:16am: Last hug from Mumma, who’s come to see me off, then struggle into seat. Carrying three things: a suitcase, my handbag, and a canvas bag with another bag inside it. Never could pack light.
10:17am: Train pulls away from station. Wave at Mum, who looks relieved she can finally leave the wind tunnel platform.
Soundtrack: Let the Journey Begin by Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.
10:25am: Nab copy of today’s Metro — hello there, Mr Beckham. Makes a nice counterpoint to all the stories about political arguments and death.
10:57am: Experience combination of irritation and sympathy when toddler along the carriage has a massive tantrum (sympathy is for his mother, who’s doing her best). Decide to never have kids.
11:23am: Man behind me seems to want to engage in game of footsie. Decline. Would meet handsome, Welsh rugby player on train in ideal world, not sixty-year-old Kent geezer with wife at home.
11:48am: Lust after outfit sported by chic woman at Clapham High Street (navy coat, grey dress and loafers).
11:53am: Fight through crowds at Victoria in order to catch tube.
Soundtrack: Move, Bitch by Ludacris
12pm: Experience customary sadness that I only ever travel through London without stopping. Wonder why I don’t visit more, before remembering it’s because of the same reason I don’t do lots of other things: money.
12:06pm: On tube. Man playing ukulele. Music akin to Mario Kart soundtrack. Help.
12:07pm: Avoid eye contact while simultaneously trying to people-watch. So many languages spoken; so many lush outfits. Trench coats v. popular with London ladies atm.
12:20pm: Arrive at Paddington. Leg it to Pret to buy chicken caesar baguette for lunch.
12:27pm: Shoutout to the toilet attendant who let me bypass the stiles so I didn’t get tangled up in my haste to use the loo. You babe.
12:36pm: Platform called. Mad rush to find correct carriage, even though train doesn’t leave for another nine minutes.
12:38pm: Delighted to find I have table. Sharing with businessman, who thankfully has not suggested game of footsie.
12:43pm: Go to devour baguette and discover it’s not cut in half. Momentary How do I eat this?! panic. Tear off chunk and end up smearing phone screen with chicken.
12:45pm: Train leaves. iPod in, Kindle out. Reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower— want to finish book before watching film.
Soundtrack: Diet Mountain Dew by Lana Del Rey
1:48pm: Woman behind me been on phone for last half hour. Keeps talking about heart designs… wedding? Very early Valentines Day plans? Suspense killing me.
1:49pm: Woman behind me says something about visiting the venue, wedding? No confirmation yet.
1:50pm: Woman behind me leaves train. Will never know.
1:56pm: Businessman opposite writes something on a piece of plain, high-quality paper in fancy blue ink. Want to know what it says. Probably something dull (businessman looks like banker).
2:46pm: Customary panic suitcase has been stolen from luggage rack. Suitcase still there.
Soundtrack: Do The Panic by Phantom Planet
2:48pm: Struggle up stairs at Cardiff Central. Who needs weight training when you can lug a suitcase round? Make friends with pigeon on platform, at least until pigeon flies into path of oncoming train and nearly gets hit.
3:22pm: Meet housemate at train station. Enthusiastic hugging ensues.
3:35pm: Home. Home for the next eight months, at least. Would love nothing more than to collapse on bed, but bed covered with belongings. Better start organising. Good to be back.