Train travel hell

It won’t go down as the best holiday I’ve ever had. I went to Harrogate for two weeks, supposedly to help Alex with childcare, but it wasn’t destined to work out well.

Between a bad back, requiring two visits to see the osteopath and a stinking cold which left me feeling like death warmed up, I wasn’t a lot of use to anybody!
I’d forgotten how awful the weather can be; it rained almost every day of my stay and was so cold that I had to buy extra clothes, my summer clothes staying in the bottom of my case.

The journey back to Manchester airport was one I’ll long remember; originally I’d booked a train from Leeds on the morning of my flight home, but decided it wasn’t fair to ask anyone to get me to Leeds by 6am, so tried to book an Airbnb in Manchester for Thursday night; my Airbnb account wouldn’t work, so Alex booked for me.
I booked trains to Manchester; the previous evening I heard that the Leeds-Manchester train had been cancelled, in fact four of the six trains around rush hour were cancelled! Great!

Graham took me to the station in Harrogate, only to learn that that leg of my journey was also cancelled. Never mind, I’d have time on the following train to make the later, running, connection to Manchester. I got to Leeds station, lugged my bags to the platform on the far side and waited. There were so many people, how would we all get on one train? There was an announcement; our train, running late, would actually leave from another platform, so I heaved my bags up and down the stairs with everyone else. Finally it arrived, already fairly full. I’m not good at pushing to the front and it was obvious that I wouldn’t get into the nearest carriage, so I started walking along the train; every doorway was crammed with people. I got to the end, very small, carriage with a few others and we squeezed our way in, nearly 30 of us in a carriage with only six seats.

After a very uncomfortable ride as far as Huddersfield, people began to get off. I was by far the oldest person in the carriage and was very grateful when a young man kindly offered me a seat that had been vacated.
Finally we arrived in Manchester, just one more train, then a short walk to the BnB. But instead of taking me directly down the main road, Google told me to take small roads through a housing estate; I was soon totally lost! After asking a few people I found the BnB; my host had gone out as I was so late, but left me keys, so I let myself in. I’m not entirely convinced the sheets had been washed, but was too tired to do anything other than crash, very relieved that I’d booked my host to take me to the airport the following morning. That evening I had another email from the train company, letting me know that the morning train I’d originally reserved had also been cancelled! What a complete farce!

I’d planned to take the train from Bordeaux back to Dax, but was so pleased when Kieran offered to come to pick me up instead, saving me the hassle of taking the tram into the centre of Bordeaux.

The holiday did have its good moments, however, meeting up with friends, two of whom are coming to visit me in November,  and spending time with my gorgeous, talented granddaughters (and Alex and Graham, of course), even if I could do much less than I’d planned. Immy and I went to York one day and I managed a short walk around Stainburn with Graham. I also got quite a few books read, so not all bad. Next time will be better 🤞