6th March 2014
I'd got up at 7 o'clock so I had bags of time before my train went at 0952. And that was taking into account the 20 minutes it would take me to cycle to the station.
At 0900 I was completely ready to go, but it was too early. I'd be hanging around on the platform getting cold with nothing to do. Suddenly it was 0920, and I thought I'd better hit the road. It was probably more like 0925 when the wheels started turning, so I still had time in hand.
Those seven spare minutes soon evaporated, though.
I got a puncture.
Only a slow one, but I had to stop three times to pump up the back wheel. And while the wheel is deflating there's more rolling resistance. I was up against it.
Though I pedalled like mad between enforced stops, I arrived at the platform at 0954. The train had left two minutes before, without me.
Oh dear. My ticket was an advance ticket, valid only for the booked train. While I thought what to do, and waited for the next train which would be along in 58 minutes, I repaired the puncture. A nice thorn was still piercing the outer tyre: I was able to remove it without pliers. A good job, as I had no pliers with me.
Inspection of the ticket and its accompanying reservation showed that the only time stated was that of departure of the train from Euston, the third and final train of the journey. I would continue to London and sort something out there.
The train to Cambridge was fine; and I got the connection from there to King's Cross. This train, as it happened, suffered a delay (at the Welwyn Tunnels). This was to be my saving grace. To cut a long story slightly shorter, a very kindly ticket office person at Euston listened to my tale of woe, and when I mentioned the delay at Welwyn she took my ticket without a word, stamped it with an official ink stamp, and wrote on it to the effect that I could catch the next train. Result!
Of course, another result was that I was now going to be an hour later to the boat. Time for the briefest of inspections of Ben's fantastic bathroom fitting efforts and a slice of pizza - thanks, Ben - and then Ally came home and gave me a lift to the marina. Thanks Ally.
I set off on Jubilee at 1615, but it seemed to take ages to get to Stoke Bruerne bottom lock. Now, I could have stopped there overnight, but I knew that the locks were going to take longer than usual as I was on my own, and I didn't want to be in a rush the next day (today). So I emptied the lock and bow hauled the boat in. After carefully filling the lock I pulled the boat half out, and then went to set the next lock. This, again, was against me. I ended up bow hauling up the first five locks (all but one against me), finishing in the dark. I was very grateful to tie up in the long pound. I lost no time in walking to the Navigation and having a large mixed grill (with some liquid refreshment too).
That was yesterday.
Today there was more disaster, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.
(Sorry for the tease - this post has already gone on long enough!)
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