Having completed the marathon of WDYTYA? Live in Birmingham, I returned home late yesterday not feeling as exhausted as usual. Several people, during the course of ‘the weekend’ commented that the atmosphere seemed to be more relaxed than when we have been at Olympia (London) in the past. The new venue certainly has ticked many boxes, particularly in terms of travel connections. However, for me…. that has been the more difficult part. I took the decision to catch the train and regular readers will know that my journey on Wednesday was challenging.
So after my final Ask the Experts slot, I decided to return home via a different route – with a change in Bristol. The plan was pretty simple as there were plentiful time gaps in the change overs with no need to run from one platform to another (not really possible after three days at the NEC, and two large pieces of luggage). All was going smoothly, despite extremely sporadic mobile phone signal, until the run-in to Bristol Temple Meads and I realised that we were – despite no announcements – LATE. Not a major problem (I thought) until I had just missed the 19:XX train back to Chippenham, with the next departure being 19:35 to London Paddington. Still, no major issue and so I sat on the beautifully quiet carriage until 19:32 when a quiet voice told me that if I wanted to get to Chippenham, I should get off the train.
For reasons unknown to me, the 19:35 to London Paddington was not stopping in Chippenham. In fact, the next train which did was 20:00 [Cue lots of bad language]. Conversing with two lovely ladies on the platform who were returning from a skiing holiday, we finally boarded the 20:00 to Swindon (via Chippenham) at 19:45 – with a whole load of rather inebriated pirates and men in tutus. Add to this mix a screaming child or two and you can imagine my descent into Victor Meldrew.
Having been an extremely patient and helpful Expert these last three days, my patience wore rather thin in the short space of time from Bristol Temple Meads to Chippenham. Thankfully, the taxi driver once I ‘landed’ in Chippenham was very chirpy and upbeat, bringing me home in what seemed like less than three minutes – it couldn’t have been! – and I was able to collapse in a small heap on an extremely comfortable sofa to read fellow genealogists blog posts, Facebook posts, Tweets and more about WDYTYA to cheer up my Victor-ness! Roll on next year – it is OFFICIALLY 7th to 9th April 2016 (not 28th to 30th April as initially advertised and blogged by many).