Thursday 27 September 2018

An unexpected trip...

Picture the scene.

Deep in the middle of nowhere, two harridans have returned from a night in the pub. This is mostly because the nearest shop is three miles away along roads that have no pavement or light.

Not ideal really.

The travelling one had been talking about her forthcoming trip to Mljet for a break. She thought I should come. I looked at my bank account.

The computer said no.

Fortunately, the wine from the Travellers Rest - that or the rhubarb gin - helped remind me that I had a credit card. And whilst it’s been a while I really do know how to use it.

Tickets. Were. Booked.

The downside of booking tickets when drunk is one doesn’t always consider the practical issues. For instance, how the hell do I get to the airport? I mean I only had to get to Stansted. On a Sunday, so I checked Google.

The computer said no.

Essentially it was saying however bad transport in Epping Upland is, it’s a metric fuckton worse on a Sunday. Why did I pick a Sunday? Oh yes, it was cheap. If you ignore the ridiculous price of getting there. The best choice looked like I would walk three and a bit miles to Epping Station, get on the Central Line, travel to Liverpool Street and take a train.

Which would be great if it wasn’t for the fact that:

  1. The station is three and a bit miles away over hills, fields and no pavement
  2. I had a wheely bag. Not great on fields to be honest.
  3. It would take two and a half hours.
  4. The Central Line was going to be closed for servicing. Or engineering. Or whatever. So a bus then.

We do have buses in Epping Upland. Sometimes. They just don’t run that often. Or on Sundays.

On the plus side. I have a lovely friend that volunteered to take me. As it turns out, this was a singularly good thing.

You see… It’s autumn. And I’m surrounded by fields. Ploughed fields. And on the day of the journey it was raining as if god hadn’t read my travel plan. In a nutshell it was payback time. Even the path from the back door of Contrary Cottage to the parking place was sodden and riddled with singularly deep puddles.

Noah is in the inside lane.
Now this shows the first problem. I’m heading to a lovely place where it may or may not be good weather. I was leaving a place which would have had Noah Googling vessel construction techniques with one eye on the barometer. Not that they had barometers then. Pinecones though. And old bones. I have both as it turns out. But I digress. It was wet. And cold. So for heading to Croatia I was dressed for Epping Upland weather and a flight, this will become important later. This meant… Underwear (I know!), stockings, a petticoat, long skirt, top, cardigan, throw, coat, hat, gloves. And I was still cold.

At Stansted I looked out of place, most had arrived in dress appropriate for the destination and ignoring the local chilly and wet conditions. But I didn’t care. To be be honest it was nice to be warm and I’d planned things so I could de-layer once I arrived in Split.

Of course things didn’t go entirely well. For a start I was wearing the wrong bra. This matters because it was the one that always sets off the alarm. On the upside, search!

And another upside, it delayed my passage through security so the wait for my also embargoed bag was less awful. Yup, my bag was in the naughty channel. I’m not sure what it was but they were looking for a) my Chilly’s water bottle (empty), b) my scissors (under six inches) c) goodness knows what else. As it was the big problem was my Yorkshire Tea smuggling operation was uncovered but, apparently, this is not yet an actual offence.

I imagine this will change with brexit.

Anyway, I smiled, I told the lovely security lady where to find the things she was looking for and all was well. So off I toddled. To. The. Bar.

Well, via Boots for the things I wanted but couldn’t pack, like factor 30 and deodorant.

Then gin.

Which would have been great of a) the staff weren’t bloody useless and b) Monty. The. Bear.

Honestly, he’s a pain. He’s been whinging for days about whether I would take him, but all he really wanted was gin. My gin. Fine, I had a timescale to work to. The upside of the delays was I had about 20 minutes before the gate would be declared. I wasn’t going to be caught out so we finished up just before, sauntered past a screen, saw it said  “info at 11:35”, wandered to the gates and saw on the second… Gate 14. YES! An easy one. A stroll to the train, a short walk and I was there. I even got a seat on the train.

At the gate I sat and waited patiently as many people rushed up hoping to board only to be batted back. After chilling for a while I sauntered down past the straggling line and headed back to join the other handful of people that had speedy boarding.

Honestly guys, it’s worth it. Not only do I get on first, I get to dictate whether I have my bag, I get to take an extra handbag and I annoy everybody in the waiting straggly line. What’s not to like?

As it turned out whilst the plane was reasonably full there was only me in 3F and another lady in 3A. I settled down, put in my headphones and watched the entertainment of the great unwashed being, well, difficult.

Of course, the flight was late leaving, but I really didn’t care, it was near enough and, as it turned out, we arrived on time. On board Monty and I had the usual struggle over who would get the Champagne and the flight passed in an easy blur. I even found time to re-engineer the cork cage as a handy device stand so I could watch Suits as I flew. Perfect.

And then there was the actual rub.

On arrival I had to approach immigration in the EU channel and I had a moment where I thought I would burst in to tears. I can’t begin to tell brexiteers how angry I am with them, especially given so many have realised what utter fools they’ve been for believing the lies. But I’m still angry. I don’t want to leave the EU, I like being able to flit from place to place. And frankly I don’t wish to spend my dotage stuck with a load of arses who think that the past is a good place to live. Especially when they have probably not got even the slightest understanding of how things were.


A swift “dobar dan” and “hvala” later and they had once again let me in the country. Daft fools. I scampered past the great unwashed, out in to an oh-so-familiar airport and squeaked with excitement at the sight of my best friend. As you do.

Oh feck it was hot. And humid. There was roughly a 20 degree (celsius, none of your Fahrenheit muck) difference between when I left and when I arrived. I waited until I was on the shuttle bus before I removed the earlier mentioned stockings. The cardigan was long gone. The hat in hand. The scarf wrapped around my bag.

I of course still looked frightfully English.

We might have talked a lot. Let’s face it, it had been over a week since we last saw each other. So much could change. And it had. There was a new chap, I would be meeting him later. They talk about a week being a long time in politics. They have no idea.

Anyhoo, a wander up the Riva looking like an extra from some 1980’s sitcom was enough to remind me that Split could be quite warm. As in I might need wringing out. Of course the sensible long skirt that is so good far travelling was approximately 3 foot longer than it needed to be to cope with the warmth. I never said the jet set was easy.

As it turned out, I was knackered, so by time we’d wandered, bumped in to Marilyn and Maria (M&M), and gassed some more, I was quite ready for my cup of tea. It was lovely to finally see the Varoš eyrie that was home to the travelling one when she’s not making Contrary Cottage feel lived in.

But not for long.

After we’d discussed the necessity to rise at are-you-kidding-me o’clock, we headed in to town to collect the new gentleman en route to meet M&M at a fancy new Split place that I last saw being built. Has it really been so long since I was last there?

Fortunately it all seemed so familiar, though it was also weird to be in town in the summer as usually I’m here way off season when it’s chilly. Chilly being defined as I might wear a cardigan. A night. In the shade. If it’s windy.

You get the idea.

Trouble was I was a teensy bit tired, even the espresso martini didn’t wake me up. It wasn’t helped by the fact that after six months of living in seclusion I’ve managed to hone my shy skills to the point where I just don’t know where to start. I’m a bit rubbish.

In time we moved on to yet another place to taste something or other that was rather lovely. Something to do with plums. Not those ones.

The reality though was it was time to retire, the looming early start had to be dealt with and if the truth by told I could have slept on a spike. It turns out that less than four hours sleep isn’t ideal. Who knew?

Still, mustn’t grumble.

1 comment:

  1. Thank You for sharing your article, This is an interesting & informative blog. It is very useful for the developer like me.