Hmm. What an interesting (if only) adventure that was!The night before, we were doing some last minute packing, etc, when I could feel my left heel starting to play up really badly. It’s been like it for weeks. The ball of my left heel gets PAINFULLY sore, like I’ve got an Achilles tendon or gout or something. After a while I can hardly walk and look like a hobbling old invalid. Obviously, the longer I’m on my feet, the worse it gets. It can even be painful when I’m sitting if I have no way of keeping my leg elevated or manoeuvrable. I think it was brought on by compensating so much for my right leg when my knee was at it’s most painful. Anyway, I could feel the pain coming on and went to bed with a dull thud in my left heel. Unsurprisingly I woke early next morning to put my foot on the floor and feel instant pain. “Oh fabulous! Thanks! We’re off to Weymouth today!” I was thinking. We were up before the crack of dawn at 5am. We were like zombies. We had barely four hours sleep. Well I did anyway. Em might have got an extra hour. We had a cup of tea, got changed, fed the fish, made sure Chris’ food was plentiful and her water clean, then we called a cab. I was really nervous and apprehensive, partly because I was worried things (the coach, the tube, the train to Weymouth) wouldn’t match, but mostly because my foot was already aching. We were on the coach and leaving Luton airport at 7am. It all looked smooth on the motorway (small mercies) and we ended up at Victoria station in plenty of time. Luckily, as Victoria was HEAVING with rush-hour commuters. We had to wait for the 3rd train to come by before we could even board! We had to change lines to get to Waterloo at Westminster, which was a *little* quieter, thankfully. We were at Waterloo by 9.10am and the train to Weymouth was leaving at 10.05, so we refueled. We had a strawberry yoghurt each, and Em had an apple (she was extra peckish) and I had a lovely M&S vanilla and maple syrup smoothie. We were on the train by 9.53 waiting to go! It was a surprisingly pleasant journey down. The train was really lovely. Comfy, roomy seats, nice staff, a good, clean toilet. A nice quiet carriage, apart from a bloke directly behind us wheeling and dealing on TWO mobile phones. All you could hear when he called someone was him saying “can you hear, can you hear me?” and then him hang up and try his OTHER mobile! God knows what network he was on. A crap one by all accounts! He finally left the train at Bournemouth. Peace, at last! We arrived in Weymouth at 1pm and the sun was shining. We headed straight for beach front. It was nice. Not as shingled as Brighton, but not entirely sandy like I thought it would be. There was quite a number of people around on the beach for a Thursday and for October 1st. It was a bit mild, around 20 degrees. There were even a few men with their shirts off (all over 50, so there wasn’t really anything worth gawking at!)! We slowly (we had to, my foot was stuffed by now) made our way to the Premier Inn we were staying at. Em kept thinking we had to be on the road and kept worrying we’d overshoot or go too far, despite my reassurances. And despite me forgetting to take a map to show the way from the station to the motel, we found it easy enough. It was amazingly close to the beach front. No sea views, which I wasn’t expecting anyway, but the beach was only a few minutes walk away. Luckily for me, as I wouldn’t have got to enjoy any of the beach front at all otherwise. We settled into our room, had a cup of tea and then went to the restaurant next door to eat. It’s a pub food chain called Brewer’s Fayre. We used to go there a lot when we had a car. Our nearest one is not really accessible via public transport, so we haven’t been to one in years. We filled up our bellies and went back to the room. I was knackered by now. I was tired, bloated from eating, and my foot was at its worst. I stayed in the motel while Em went back off to the town centre for a gander, take some shots and find a few provisions for later. Having been so knackered sleep eluded me until late in the evening, around midnight. I read from about 10.30pm onwards in the hope it would help me drift off. I didn’t fully wake the next morning until around 9.45am. Once I’d gone to sleep, I’d slept like a log. With my foot the way it was, I had no plans to do anything that day other than eat! We eventually moved our butts out about midday. Well, I moved mine. Em had already been off and into the town centre again in the mean time. We spent an hour or so on the beach (well, more accurately, on a bench BY the beach), then we went to the Brewer’s Fayre again. Last time Em had a cheese and onion pasty with mash and baked beans, and I had gammon, eggs, chips and peas. This time, Em was going to have the only meal she normally has when we go to Brewer’s Fayre (they’re not normally fab with the vegie meals Em likes, they’ve had the odd thing she likes – like the cheese and onion pasty for example), fish and chips, and I had the most GORGEOUS liver and onions, with bacon, mash and peas, in a giant square Yorkshire pudding! And afters, Em had an caramel apple crumble cake with ice cream, and I had a banoffee waffle with pouring cream. Divine! We were so stuffed (again), we spent the afternoon (and the rest of day, admittedly) in the motel room. Em was starting to feel the effects of a head cold. I was hoping we could go to the Sea Life centre next door as a last day treat, but of course Miss Tight-wad almost went into cardiac arrest when she heard adult tickets were £17 each. A Sea Life visit was looking VERY unlikely. I felt rested, but my foot was not any better. Miss Cardiac-Arrest had a horrible nights sleep trying to breathe with her head cold. Last day we had to be out of the motel by midday. We were out by 10.30am and my foot was feeling better initially. We walked along the beach front into the town centre. Looked through some of the shops, realised we had HOURS to kill before our 5pm train, so decided to see a film. The weather wasn’t conducive to being on the beach. It had gotten chilly in 48 hours, and was now 15 degrees and blowing a gale! It was also overcast and drizzling with rain on and off. We had a fish and chip lunch, then went and saw Creation, the film about Darwin completing The Origin of Species. It was a good film. The plot wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It was quite sad, but wonderfully done. There was a kleenex moment for both of us. Nice bit of irony when we paid for the tickets, little vouchers offering 2 for 1 tickets to Sea Life with a cinema ticket! Oh how I laughed – not! After we came out of the cinema, there was STILL time to kill, so we wandered a bit. Sat in the local library before it shut, then went to the station just after 4pm. The train was already on the platform, so by 4.25 we were already seated, waiting to get back to Waterloo. Not as nice a journey home. The carriage was quite full, and there were a few Saturday night revellers getting on and off, and the toilet was small and there was urine on the floor – always nice! We got to Waterloo at 7.50pm and the fun hadn’t quite finished yet. Of course we had to get back Victoria. We were going to go back the way we came, which meant a trip on the Jubilee line to Westminster, and then from there on the District and Circle line to Victoria. Only problem was, the Jubilee line was closed!!! Flipping hell! So we had to change our route. We had to go on the Bakerloo line to Embankment (which is MILES further underground than Jubilee – it’s like a mile just to get to the Bakerloo platforms FFS!) and then from there on the District and Circle back to Victoria! I was about ready to collapse when we got to Victoria. We had some food there, then got on the coach back to Luton. From there, a quick cab ride back home. We were back at home around 10.45pm and as we were scrabbling for the keys I was saying to Em “I can hear something that sounds scarily like one of our fire alarms.” Lo and behold when we opened the front door, the wailing became louder. Sure enough, it was one of ours! Fig! It took Em a minute or so to turn the damn thing off. Chris was nowhere to be seen. God knows how long the flipping thing had been activated. Hopefully not 15 minutes after we left. We eventually found Chris cowered under the sofa. Poor sweetheart, she was as jumpy as anything for the next few hours, poor baby girl 😦 A fitting crescendo. Still, it was time away. I was hoping to see a few different birds down there, but all I saw were gulls. Gulls, gulls and even more flippin’ gulls! Pictures will be put online soon.
Started out in a rush to the bus stop. Was worried we weren’t going to make it on time. We got there with a few minutes to spare though. Phew.We were going to finally use the vouchers we won last year for the free bus travel. We get on the bus, the driver is perplexed by the sight of these vouchers. He entered in the code for the ticket we were to be issued, but the value price on the voucher had changed. He called his boss to confirm is was all legit and above board. Boss confirmed it and we were both issued our tickets. I had explained during events that we’d won the vouchers in a competition. As he handed over the tickets the driver said “You won a good competition there!” I replied “I know”! Issue price of the tickets – £70, EACH! So, we were on our way to Welwyn Garden City. Been wanting to go there for WEEKS. We were originally going to take the bus to Hitchin, get off and walk to Hitchin railway station to get a train to Welwyn. Then I realised it would be better to stay on the bus. We had quite a walk from where the bus would let us off at Hitchin to the station. The bus was going on to Stevenage and there it would takes us right to the train station, and Stevenage is on the same train line, so we just stayed on and rode the bus right on into Stevenage. We waited about 20 mins for a train and were in Welwyn about 12 minutes later. We mooched around the shops in the little shopping centre there, had some lunch. I had an adult sized “babycino” – which is basically just steamed milk. I had it with some caramel syrup. It was yummy. Got a tiny little biscuit with it which was nice. We went outside for a bit. We’d taken the camera with us, so Em got some shots of the main drag of Welwyn. We went round the corner and I looked in Evans (clothes shop for big ladies) and scored myself a pair of summer cropped pants for £3. We were walking along and just just split up, Em was going to the health food shop and I was going to have a look in another large ladies clothing store when I was accosted by a “chugger”. There are people on the streets over here, who work for charities and they accost you and try and get you to commit to regular, monthly donations by taking your bank details to set-up direct debits. They have been labeled “chuggers” a blend of the words “charity” and “mugger”. He was just there in my eye line and before I knew it, he had stopped me. I ended up letting him say his spiel in the hope that he might accept a one-off donation. But of course, these chuggers don’t work like this. Thank God, after some moments had elapsed, Em came to my rescue. The guy still put his heart and soul into it, bless him, but he was fighting a losing battle with Em at my side. We finally pulled away another 5 minutes later. They can really lay on the guilt man! But it’s not even a charity I would be most inclined to give to. I’m far more into animal charities, the RSPCA, PDSA and all that. I’d be more willing to give to the PDSA because we actually might need to use them some time in the future. Anyway, enough of that. We decided to leave Welwyn and go back to Hitchin for a bit. We got the train back to Stevenage and as we were boarding the bus Em said “maybe we should just go back into Luton and you can see the new Marks and Spencers part of the mall”. “Okay” I said, so we rode the bus past Hitchin and onto home. As we got into Stopsley, it was becoming obvious that the bus was going to go right by our stop for home before ending up in the town centre. We were both feeling a bit knackered by this time – we’re a right pair of old fogeys! So we decided to get off at our stop, get something for tea from ASDA and go home. What a pair, eh?! A couple of hours out and we’re clagged out like two old cows with udders that hang on the ground! Goodness me! lol But it was nice to get out and about. And it is SO lovely being on the trains again. Haven’t taken a train since probably taking the tube over a year ago. The underground is NOT a romantic train journey experience though… I find there is a real romanticism with taken the train though. Seeing the countryside go by out a train window. We went over this lovely old viaduct yesterday, and the view from it, over the Hertfordshire countryside was lovely. I so wish trains were more affordable to use.