The best thing about being self-employed is that occasionally I can combine work and pleasure. As it was on Friday when I was up at sparrow’s fart to catch the first of four trains to Harrogate where I was heading to the famous Taylors of Harrogate Group, to attend their Coffee Masterclass.
Genius stroke of blogger outreach right there! Someone somewhere knows that I love coffee. That I have a much loved magnet on the fridge that specifies the terms and conditions of my working from home employment contract – ‘No coffee, no workee’! That after moving from the strong coffee culture in Auckland, to the coffee desert of Hampshire I would have sold one of the kids for a decent cup of cappucino in the first year I lived here.
Truth be told I was looking forward to the masterclass so I was happy to get up at an ungodly hour to head north. I was early to the Basingstoke station, and early to the Tube. I didn’t sleep through my Tube stop (as I might have done once or twice before!) and eagerly trotted along the spectacular Kings Cross station to see which platform my train to
Hogworts Harrogate was departing from.
The train to York was running late and they hadn’t announced the platform yet so I doddled around. Drank some Harrogate bottled water, and considered some saucy lingerie in the Accessorize shop. My Englishman was driving up after work for a little R&R and I was keen to present a different side of me from the typical exhausted mess I usually am on a Friday night.
We could do the whole Romantic Friday night fantasy. A smart hotel – away from home, hamburgers and kids’ homework. A bed the size of a small island nation. A glass (or two) of wine, some intelligent conversation, and then some quality time.
Because it’s the quality not the quantity that counts! Right?
I was so entranced by this fantasy that I almost missed the announcement for my train. Sheepishly I stepped away from the lacey bits and bobs and raced through the turnstiles to Platform 2.
The East Coast train was suitably dirty for a train that travels such long distances each day and the grunge almost added to the travel glam. Burping diesel fumes the train embodied the ‘I’m not a plane but oh the places I’ve been’ style. The train attendants (stewards?) were dressed a la 1970′s air hostesses with their uniform of tie/kerchief and suit.
I shuffled along the carriage to find my seat. Ridiculously excited, I walked right past my block of seats and had to edge back like a disoriented salt-drunk crab to my seat.
But ‘quelle horror!
Someone was sitting in my seat! (Said Mama Bear). I kept my ire hidden and as politely as I could pointed out that she was in my seat. She looked at her ticket.
“39c, carriage E”.
I followed along with my finger as if learning to read a train ticket for the very first time.
“39C carriage E1″ I mimicked.
“Let me see”.
I passed my ticket over feeling a tad smug. I’d got up at sparrow’s fart. I’d caught all three trains on time, and had even arrived at Kind’s Cross early enough to plan a romantic interlude later in the day! I couldn’t have been more ready for the Taylors of Harrogate Coffee Masterclass, if I’d tried.
Or……if I’d actually caught the right train!
Which was, as the stranger pointed out triumphantly, the earlier one that was travelling through York, to Edinburgh.
I did manage to stay on the train and find a seat that wasn’t taken and fudge the actual booked seat/train number, and finally arrived at Harrogate only an hour later!
I have never been so pleased to see a brilliant cup of coffee, in my life!