Essex to Yorkshire – can we make a 2pm Xmas lunch in Horsforth?

As the proud owner of a new Google G1 (replacing my very old Nokia hand set) I’d been hoping to experiment by blogging live from the train – but a combination of me forgetting my password, intermittent signal and several refusals on the ‘make entry’ page  I’ve reverted back to what the beeb would call ‘as live’.

Friday, 3am         Just about to go to bed.  A combination of packing, baking and making has kept us busy to the point where we’re so tired we can hardly speak.  There isn’t an inch of living room floor space which isn’t covered in some form of detrius from the wrapping process.   As usual I have found out that I am incapable of tying ribbon round presents and even worse at making pretty bows.  We almost ran out of wrapping paper, lost the scissors countless times and had to make emergency arrangements for one set of parcels to be picked up.  All fairly usual really.

Saturday, 7.30am             An ungodly hour.  We attempt to get the packages into two suitcases, a large canvas bag, a rucksack and a lap top bag.  In the end we succeed…just.  It looks as though we’re going on an exhibition.  Julia ices the Christmas cake – I check we have the tickets at least five times.

Saturday, 8.57am             I expect this to be headline news in our local paper – (the Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea Chronicle – purveyor of fine news and advertising messages – otherwise known as Scarpenter Times) – I have arrived at Wivenhoe  train station more than ten minutes before its scheduled departure time.  Even the station staff look shocked.

Saturday, 9.07am             Train one is on time – I almost manage to drop a suitcase in the ‘gap between the train and the platform edge’

Saturday, 9.20am             WH Smiths at Colchester has no boxed Christams cards but does have second class stamps.  Perhaps I can just people stamps – after all it’s the thought that counts.  Maybe I don’t even have to do that – the fact that they were on my list is perhaps enough?

Saturday,9.30am              I fail the first challenge of the day – how to take one rucksack, one case, one brown canvas bag, one breakfast bap and one cup of tea down a flight of stairs.  Surprisingly for me I take the slightly easier option and leave the tea at the top of the stairs…so far no embarrassing spills.  Julia can’t be bothered with this going up and down stairs twice malarkey and triumphantly goes up a flight of stairs with a cup of tea, a sandwhich, a lap top bag, a suitcase and the brown canvas bag which she has confiscated.  Further proof that boys cannot multi task.

Saturday 9.38am              Something is rotten in the state of National Express – our second train to Peterborough is on time too.  We can’t find table seats – not good when your trying to write reports (Julia) and address Christmas cards (me).  Yes I know I said I wasn’t sending any – but I have written the family ones so it would silly not to send them.  Their hand made – by me (obviously, not!).  Its slightly embarrassing how many of my own families addresses I don’t know.

Saturday 11.30pm            Still on time – I think – as we roll through the fens.  Even with the sky the colour of welsh slate this is a pretty journey.  We’ve been through Bury St Edmunds, Ely – just hit March – and should be reaching Peterborough soon….My mission in the 18 minutes we have at Peterborough is to find some Christmas cards.  I don’t rate my chances.

Saturday 12pm  I’m still Christmas card lite!!  But with NE internet this is genuinely live.  Amazingly we’re still on time and look as though we might make the 2pm lunch.  Still havent lost anything…yet.  Was barged by a passenger and managed to spill hot earl grey tea over my jumper and Julia’s shirt.  Earl Grey that apparently as a second class customer of NE I’m not allowed – its a first class privilege.  But the steward believes in giving the customers want they want – at a price of course.  £2.10 for a cup of tea…I’m beginning to sound like an angry old man.


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