First Class.

Previously on Carrie Not the Kind of Girl You’d Marry…

So I packed up my troubles in my green vintage suitcase and smile-smile-smiled my way to the train station. I was headed for London.  Again.

I woke up at 7am sharp on Wednesday morning. My eyes hadn’t been open that early in quite some time. Despite a looming, stomach churning anxiety, I enjoyed the morning.  Since my love of sleeping often overrides…well, my love of most other things, I forget that the morning is a nice time.  A nice quiet time. Anyway, on this particular Wednesday morning I had no time for dilly dallying or morning time pottering.  I said a teary farewell to my beautiful cat with guilt knots in my heart and hopped into the cab I’d called 10 minutes earlier.  Since this was the first proper holiday I’d taken in about 3 years, I ought to have been hopping with excitement, but I felt a bit sick.  Sweaty.  Nervous.  Clammy hands. Hardly the Some Like It Hot vibe I was going for.  As excited as I was to see Garry and as excited as I was to travel solo on the train –  shaking off that pesky impending sense of doom proved difficult.

Once I’d successfully picked up my train tickets from the man at the station desk, I felt a little bit calmer.  You see, in my head, the scenario was destined to go a little something like this:  I approach the ticket window.  I pass the man my booking information through the little window doodah. He’d look down at my travel code and say, “I’m sorry, love.  You’ve been had. Since you are a moron that doesn’t understand the first thing about train travel, you’ve made your booking via a fraudulent website and this reservation doesn’t exist. To travel to London today, you’ll need to pay £300”.  I was quite, quite certain this would happen.  It didn’t.  The man looked down at my travel code, typed something into his little tippety tappity machine thing and handed me four cards.  Two tickets. Two seat reservations.

Like a proper idiot, I decided oh-so-foolishly to forfeit the convenience and practicality of my (albeit ugly) suitcase on wheels in favour of my super-cool, fancy, green vintage suitcase.  By the time I’d lugged it – and my inexplicably heavy holdall to the front of the train, my arms were burning red and my gommy back wasn’t at all appreciative of the early morning muscle shock.  However, when I finally reached coach J, I hobbled onto the train and quickly found my seat.  Like something out of My Fair Lady, I gawped at the carriage – at the pretty place settings on the table, at the little table lamps and individual plug points.  There was real crockery and proper cutlery laid out.  Like in a restaurant. With napkins and – and, and everything!  After some shuffling around, I settled into my (comfy) seat and tried awfully hard to stifle a big stupid grin – but couldn’t.  I thought, since there was currently no one else sitting at my table, I could grin all I liked.  So I did.

A smiley bald man poured me a cup of tea. A pretty blonde lady gave me grapefruit juice and brown toast.  The smiley bald man came back and asked what I wanted for breakfast.  I thought the tea and the juice and the brown toast WAS breakfast.  It was certainly more than I was used to.  I ordered the grill.  Almost as soon as I had, I regretted it.  “What did you do that for, you stupid bitch?” I thought.  “You know you’re weird about sausages and you probably won’t like the bacon. And if the egg has crispy stuff on the bottom you’ll cry.  You should just have asked the smiley bald man for some fruit.  You can’t go wrong with fruit.”  Since it would seem that life really is better in First Class, I needn’t have worried about my grill.  It was super tasty and there were no egg induced (nor sausage induced, or indeed bacon induced) tears.

The pretty blonde lady came to clear away the dirty breakfast dishes.  I tidied up the table a little bit (I didn’t want to spoil it) and opened my laptop.  I had planned to blog every step of my journey, but I quickly realised that enjoying myself was taking up a surprising amount of time and some how I couldn’t manage to simultaneously enjoy myself and document everything.  While I was on the train, I did take note of some new topic ideas (to add to the ridiculously long list of topic ideas I’ve already logged in my notepad) and I did start off a musical post about my train travellin’ soundtrack.  We’ll get to that.  Instead of trying to write a full length blog, I rather enjoyed updating the all new Carrie Not The Kind of Girl You’d Marry Faceache page approximately every 20 minutes.

Two Funny Things That Happened in Coach J…

1.  Makin’ Your Mind Up

This is probably not the first time I have posted about Making Your Mind Up on my blog. I’m not ashamed of doubling up. And I’m not ashamed of my deep, deep love of this song.  So – that said, I never, ever travel without Bucks Fizz on my playlist.  It’s always a highlight of the journey when that little shooka-chooka intro comes shooka-chooka-ing through my headphones. There I am. In Coach J. Grinning like a goon at the relative splendour of the First Class carriage when Making Your Mind Up comes on.  I’d already spent a fair portion of my time on the train trying not to overtly chair dance (I can chair dance easier on the bus you see – more privacy somehow).  I’d pretty much managed to hold it together but Bucks Fizz toppled me over the table shoogling edge and my body jerked an exaggerated shoulder jiggle and a sort of side-to-side bottom wiggle – almost involuntarily.  I was quite certain that the man in the grey jumper, now sitting opposite me (he joined the fun at a station called Oxenden – I have no idea where that is) had definitely noticed my inadvertent boogie burst out but by this time, I could care not a jot.  I was having far too much fun.  As I wobbled around to the time of the music in my window seat, the train began to bend and sway too, matching the Making Your Mind Up rhythm almost to the very beat. There was a fabulous, fabulous moment, somewhere near the end of the first verse, when I was being pushed and pulled in time to the music by the train – and I caught a glimpse of all the other passengers in the carriage (including, of course, my table mate) being pushed and pulled along too.  I let out a little snort of delight when,  in my head,  I imagined my long time wish that life were one big piece of musical theatre coming true right there and then on a Virgin train.  Everyone was swaying now – but pretty soon?  They’d be finger clicking and toe-tapping their way up the aisles and pulling lengths of shiny fabric off from velcro fastened stagewear. As tight as I tried to tense my tummy muscles and despite holding my breath so hard my face must surely have gone a rather peculiar colour – there wasn’t heckish much I could do other than let the choked up giggling escape.  As if things couldn’t get any more surreal (in my brain) – or any more embarrassing (in real life), the first verse hopped into that funny little modulation bit (the best bit) and just at the perfect moment, the man in the grey jumper gave the table a little tap with his hand – in very precise ‘Making Your Mind Up’ time!  I spent the next ten minutes sitting in my seat at a 90 degree angle laughing into the window – my own reflection making me laugh harder. I am quite the classy chica.

2.  Sweetie?

Toward the end of journey – having already enjoyed two more cups of tea and two teensy cans of lemonade,  the smiley baldy man made his way down the aisle once more, this time laden with a giant wicker basket choc-full of mini packs of Love Hearts and Fruit Salads.  I saw him coming but had my headphones in and had happily tuned out of the train journey burr and into a timely blast of Abba, ‘That’s Me’.  “Would you like a sweetie?’ mouthed the smiley baldy man, leaning over the table and shoving the big basket in my direction.  “Aaaaaw! Wow!” I exclaimed as I dug around in the basket and pulled out a sweetie (one for each hand) only to notice that the smiley baldy man was laughing quite hard. The man in the grey jumper was laughing quite hard too. At me. Forgetting just how loud my London playlist was blaring in my headphones, I guess my response wasn’t just a touch overly enthusiastic but it was much, much louder than I’d planned.  I blushed.

I arrived at Euston right on time to find Garry waiting for me on the platform.  He smelled like a brewery but it was nice to squeeze him.

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