Thursday, July 23, 2009

Things happen in threes

The journey from Edinburgh began at 6:15 at the train station near our hotel. It was too early for there to be kitchen staff --- so we had "breakfast to go" fruit and a scone in a bag with coffee in a "take-away" cup.

Things seemed to be going well when we were met at the station to be assisted to the platform --- we were taken to a new lift.
(1)Unfortunately the new lift didn't work.....and they brought a really ingenious machine out. Its propulsion looked a bit like that on a tank, and it walked up the two flights of steps to the first platform. We then ran (because by now it was almost time for the train to leave) We just barely got on the train in time... whew ---
(2)We were to change trains in Crewe --- that was one of those stops where the train goes on --- so you have to get off quickly.....The young man who helped us in Edinburgh had put Kathy's chair in one of the other cars --- he said we would be met in Crewe --- which we believed because Kathy had made these arrangements the day before! BUT when we got to Crewe -- it was toss bags to platform time -- no one in sight. Our bags had been buried under tons of other bags which I had to excavate before I could toss them....and then there was the matter of where her chair was!!! I yelled at a train attendant for help (I could see the train leaving with her chair on it!!) He headed off to find a chair --- when he started toward the building --- I yelled NO --- IT IS ON THIS TRAIN SOMEWHERE -- he finally understood --- and we got the chair off just moments before the train pulled out of the station.
(3) When we arrived at Hollyhead to catch the ferry to Ireland, Kathy stopped to check her tickets at the counter and was told the ferry left at 1:50 p.m. It was just then about 1:00 so we went to the little cafe to grab a sandwich --- at about 1:40 Kathy asked me to check on where the queue was for the Ferry --- I asked the same young woman where we were to line up....and she blithely informed me that we had missed the ferry!
I dashed back got Kathy --- and she asked the girl why no one told us to line up earlier --- (after all this same girl said 1:50 --- and we were early by our standards) The young woman looked at her incredulous --- why didn't you ask? We didn't know to ask was the simple answer....I guess most people ride the ferry frequently and know these things --- but we certainly didn't...

All was not lost --- there was a second ferry company --- and their ferry was leaving --- shortly --- if we hurried we could catch it and hurry we did. We made it by the skin of our teeth ---- and settled in for the trip across the Irish sea. It was intermittently sunny, cloudy, misty, and mostly calm (well relatively). There was a cinema on board the ferry, and duty free shops, and game rooms and lounges and lot of noise! Noise from children running to and fro and people laughing and talking. In Britain public places are quiet --- trains are hushed --- but this was not quite at all! I continued reading the murder mystery that Kathy finished last week, Elizabeth George --- set in Cornwall...and Kathy had picked up a historical fiction -- having just finished a couple of Cotswold mysteries.

The rest of the trip was uneventful --- we caught a cab to the train in Dublin, and that trip had no train changes --- The Irish countryside so far is very beautiful ---- hedgerows dividing fields, cottages, sheep, oats and other crops that seem to be doing very well in this wet year. The temperature is pretty cool and I notice that even local people are wearing layered sweaters or light I am not crazy!!!! It is cold.

We were reduced to eating dinner on the train --- which meant that we had sandwiches again---- this time --- chicken pannini -- (chicken and stuffing between bread --- argh.......what I wouldn't give for a McDonalds salad!!!!!!

We had to catch a cab to our hotel the juries --- which is very lovely --- and I actually have FREE INTERNET!!!! but again....I have heard bad things about Internet connectivity in Ireland --- so we will see when we head out tomorrow for Killarny.......

Kathy was kind enough to schedule us in Cork --- because my great-grandparents came from this county.....wish I had time to visit a library and do a bit of research....The family name was Grum and the story goes that a curse was put on the family that all the male children of my Great grandfather would die violent deaths.....and many of them did.....Deep in conversation with the woman next to me on the train ---- I was--- telling this tale--I was --- and her hanging on every word and telling about her granny who used to put curses on folk and they came true!!!! It think I am in IRELAND --- the land of stories and magic....

It is an early day tomorrow --- so this may be my last post until I get to Shannon on Saturday.....We shall see.

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