I am travelling light as usual, you know what I mean, a large suitcase on wheels that don’t work and that’s tied together with old leather belts, a laptop in a case with no shoulder strap and side pockets stuffed full of “essential” sundry electrical chargers and other office related items, a “cabin” bag (and I am not even flying) bulging with perishable gifts for family and friends, a handbag the size of Bournemouth and a plastic bag with emergency rations in it for the long train journey…….my husband heaves my case down the stairs muttering darkly whilst I flutter past shouting out words of encouragement and repeating over and over again that the “weather can changeable” and it really is “not that heavy is it?”……yes, I know how to travel light as a brave solo passenger.
In a parallel world, I dream of the perfect journey; I will be beautifully dressed in a careless “designer label” way, an exquisite scarf billowing gently as I make my way through the train station leaving a cloud of subtle French perfume in my wake. One small case on 4 wheels will glide by my side whilst my small handbag is carried over the crook of my arm, in the manner of a “celeb”. Men will offer a helping hand whilst women will wonder at my seemingly elegant and carefree manner……my lipstick will remain “in situ” throughout the journey and transfers from train to train will be a breeze as porters fall over themselves to help me with my minuscule suitcase. I will personify the golden age of travel and only champagne will pass my lips.
The reality is I will be a sweating heaving wreck by the time I have humped my humongous case down the stairs to the platform because the lifts are out of action, nobody will help me as I teeter on the side of the platform and throw my bags on to the train narrowly missing any unfortunate traveller who is in front of me; someone will be sitting in my “booked” seat and only with the intervention of the angry looking ticket collector will they move and then glower at me for the rest of the journey. There will be no space left in the luggage area and my bags will be festooned on and about me for 5 hours. My egg mayonnaise sandwiches (which seemed such a good idea yesterday) will stink the carriage out and people will mutter about “what is that smell” under their breath whilst pointedly looking at me.
I will finally arrive hot and dishevelled, hair wild and lipstick on my chin with mayonnaise stains pebble dashed over my “best” pashmina scarf; meanwhile, the woman of my travel dreams will silently slink past me and get the last taxi in the taxi rank, leaving me marooned for half an hour or more…..my perishable gifts will have left a trail behind me and people will avoid me as if I am the travelling albatross. I left yesterday and may still be on the road ~ wish me luck, and if you see me struggling with a large battered suitcase of fuchsia and maroon, please lend a helping hand! See you after the journey tomorrow.
A Patchwork Quilt