I never pack until one hour before I have to leave my house ( maybe 90 minutes on a good day ). Do you do it the day before ? Did I hear you say ‘Days.. before’ ? Goodness.
Have I ever managed this ? I’m really not sure. I try, I really do. THIS TIME, I say to myself, I am determined to have my suitcase(s), hatboxes etc ready and waiting in the hallway when I go to bed the night before departure day. And yet……
It all starts so well. In the week running up to d-day piles of this and that gradually appear in various rooms. Efficiency central! Passport, money & tickets in the kitchen. Tech stuff in the hall. Clothes in the spare bedroom. Books in the TV room. It’s all there. It’s ready. The suitcase, or this year my sexy new Caribee Fast Track 85, just needs to be filled. But IT DOESN’T HAPPEN. I decide to hoover under the bed instead. Quick defrost of the freezer anyone ? Is it now a tradition ? Is it a mental block ? Aargh.
I JUST CANNOT DO IT. So off to bed I go.
Next day dawns ( often at about 04.00 ) and TRING TRING the alarm rings and WHOOSH it’s action stations! Whirlwind activity. A quick SSS and then everything gets chucked into the bag/suitcase and it gets forced shut. Follow this up with a manic squizz round the house ( Are the windows shut? Are the doors locked? Is the smelly rubbish out ? ) and I rush to the awaiting mini-cab or just run up the road to the bus stop. PHEW! There is sweat on the forehead. The heart pounds. And so to the station ( Tube/DLR )
Once in a blue moon I fly ( last occasion was 2005 ) and then the bag stays shut but I normally travel by rail, within the UK or through the chunnel and off into Europe.
And so to Euston/St Pancras/St Pancras International….whichever. Newspapers, water, breakfast, condoms and a macchiato are bought. Climb aboard the train , stow the luggage and collapse.
Gradually I come to. I drink the coffee, munch the croissant/muesli and maybe sneak 40 winks. And then it’s time for REPACKING. If the train is quite empty ( Say I have 1 seat in a four ) I will get my suitcase and put it on the seat opposite me. If the train I full I will go to the luggage area. I open the suitcase and out it all comes.
The tech goes into plastic bags, neat piles of boxer shorts, socks & shirts appear. Maybe I am listening to Brahms through my BOSE wireless in ear headphones . Why do people stare ? Why do they yearn for a panic button ? Hello, what’s so odd about my activity ? Do there fear a bomb ? I smile at them, I can say ‘hi there!’ in 5 languages ffs, but still they make no eye contact! And if I speak to them……….oh my……….. the look of fear in their eyes. Get a grip people.
So there we are, all my stuff goes neatly back in the bag ( taking up far less room it has to be said ) and I return to my seat. Job done guvnor! ( What would Jeeves say ? )
Depending on the journey, I will now be 45 minutes outside Sheffield, Manchester, Brussels or Paris. Cafe Bistro here I come for a refuelling of caffeine. Laptop to the ready.
I’m chilled. I’m on holiday and to my surprise <ahem> it appears that the carriage in which I have a pre-booked seat is now half empty.
Breakfast in London, lunch in Paris and dinner/supper in….?
Keep following this blog and you’ll find out where I spent that first night.