Wake up at about 9:30, knowing that I should get up and pack and at the same time not wanting to move at all, really. Force myself. Get up and have shower – feel much better.
It is now 11:00, and the train is at 2:00.
Start inserting things into bags. Put the sheet music I bought yesterday along with any flat bits and pieces into a big envelope that already contains the accounts stuff that I brought with me (and that I though I’d have plenty of spare time to sort while I was here… oops). Buy some parcel tape downstairs and tape it up. Then I take it to the Post Office around the corner and post it to myself (in London).
Cram everything else into bags and take the bags downstairs until there’s nothing left in the room but rubbish. Phil reminds me to take the rubbish and put it in a bin-bag. Now the room is bare, but for the duvet and pillows I bought, which I’m leaving to the flat.
I strap the two guitars, the bass and three bags onto my trolley, to make one collossal bit of luggage.
Joe tries to call the station to get information as to the running of the trains, no one seems to want to tell him.
Phil and I get a cab at 1:20. However, at the station there is no sign of information about the 2:00 train. Phil goes off to find information and coffee whilst I watch the bags. The comics arrive and ascertain that the train leaves from platform 21, which is over a bridge. On time. However the train before and the train after have been cancelled, so there will be chaos. Phil and I wait for the lift up to the bridge, a process which seems to take forever – the departure of the train is now imminent. On the other side we don’t bother with the lift, but just drag the luggage down. I go off to find the Guards van, where there is a revolution afoot – an angry crowd is demanding seats, and the representative of the train company is, frankly, laughing at them until someone suggests sitting in first class at which he gets shirty.
“First class is first class,” he says. Or rather, the rest of us are scum.
I put the colossal bit of luggage into the guard’s van and find our carriage (carriage B). I get on just as the doors are closing.
The carriage is chaos. Glenn Wool, on of the Big Value comics is talking a man into giving up his seat to two chinese women (who have the reservation on that seat and don’t really understand what’s going on). The man is claiming that reservations have been suspended, but is eventually shamed by Glenn into giving up the seat. I am impressed. I sit in one of the loos until one of the comics comes past and tells me about an empty seat near the others. Glenn Wool goes off to storm first class (later reports suggest that he does just this and happily sleeps through most of the journey).
There is a long wait at Newcastle, since the train is, apparantly lacking a driver. Every so often more people get on the train, which is now so overcrowded that the train can’t really get up to speed. The ETA, initially 6:30 is upped to 7:15.
At Durham the man sitting next to Sally Holloway leaves the train, so I get to sit with the group, which is nice. Various conversations. The ETA creeps up, and we finally arrive just after 8:00.
Laura meets me at the station and takes me home, and then we go to the Chez Gerard at the South Bank for dinner, meet Helmut of the Virtuosos (who is about to busk there), and then I go home and to bed.
And that’s that.
Until next year.