Well, that was what I had hoped anyway…. Long planned kind-of-day-off in London, meeting up with Ma & Pa FWL (who incidentally came up the company name, way back when) to watch White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre. Trips to The Big Smoke are never seamless from the Calne Office base though so much planning (with many contingencies) is required.
Car travel is the first issue – getting to Swindon train station is a mission all by itself on a weekday and, in order to get a parking space anywhere near the station, I had been informed (past experience and conversations with more regular travellers) that it was crucial to get to the station by 8am if you were to have any chance of getting parked. So, I leave the office well ahead of schedule and get stuck in the most ridiculous traffic jam to get round a roundabout. And it wasn’t even the Magic Roundabout….
Arriving at the car park at 8:30am, I was destined to fail and was already thinking of switching to Plan B (which is, by the way, moving the cones and parking on the service road as I know that you don’t get a ticket there. Done that before!)…. Two circuits of the car park later and getting royally irritated by the Mercedes and BMW drivers who clearly thought that driving faster round the car park than me would get them a space, Lady Luck strikes and I see a man getting into his car. I am the only one in striking distance – this one is mine!
Smirking slightly as I walked across the car park, I was delighted to have two hours ahead of me in Costa Coffee before my train at 10:59am. Managed to get so much work done – calls, emails and heaven alone knows what else – I trotted jubilantly to Platform 3. Delayed. Wind taken out of my sails completely in one easy motion.
For want of boring you with the entire story of how many times the board changed, telling us of different expected arrival times, I stepped onto the 10:59 train at 11:15am. Not too bad…. Except for the fact that the problem which had caused the delay in the first place decided to rear its ugly head again. The doors jammed. But not before we embarked. After.
So, passengers on Coaches A-D (just for clarity, I was on C) were stuck on the not-likely-to-leave-Swindon-soon 10:59 train to London Paddington. Imagine how many people were hot-footing it up the train to get off in Coach E when the next London Paddington train arrived. Bearing in mind the problem with ‘la porte’ did not seem to fixing itself – nor did any of the staff have the ability to fix it – I decided to exit with them and board another train in the hope of more success than the first efforts made at leaving the station on public transport.
Rather splendidly, I managed to seat myself (a) next to one working plug socket but (b) next to a chirpy gentleman who kindly allowed me to use his power supply to charge my mobile at the same time as charging ‘el laptopo’ en route to Londres. And he was interested in family history too! Marvellous!
Into London later than hoped with two jobs to do – one in the Royal Courts of Justice and one at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) before meeting with Ma & Pa FWL at 5:30pm in Tottenham Court Road. For those whose geography is as good as mine of our nation’s capital, the Royal Courts of Justice are near Temple tube station (quite a trip round the Circle Line – West – from Paddington) and Farringdon (for LMA) is another half a billion stops around the Circle Line…. Take a look at the Tube map….
Temple Station first. Royal Courts of Justice …. easy to find and I even managed to clear security, though not without a beeping sensor. What the hell?! Not again! Through to Court 38 and …. closed for lunch from 1-2pm. You have got to be kidding me!
So, I sit, patiently waiting for 2pm. I am in! I locate the wills references I need, complete the form and proudly present it to the lovely gentleman behind the desk. ‘Thank you Madam. Here is a map. You need to go to the Fees Office and pay for your wills. Then bring the form back here.’ OH MY ACTUAL GOD. I have to walk across the entire site of the Royal Courts of Justice, pay £30 for the pleasure of ordering three wills and then come back and give you the form – the same form which is IN MY HAND NOW!
I need a drink. Part 2 to follow (much later).