When last we met, I was sitting in the first class carriage of the Bath bound train shivering, coughing and feeling feverish. Beyond the windows, the English countryside sped by as I sat huddled beneath two coats, my gloved hands shoved deep into the pockets of the top coat. I tried to focus my mind . . . how long could this illness (cholera, typhus, the bird flu, whatever it was) possibly last? Was there even the ghost of a chance that it was but a passing fancy and I would recover by tomorrow? I took stock of my symptoms and decided that it was highly unlikely.
The ticket guy came through the car at this point. What is the ticket guy actually called? The conductor? Wasn’t the conductor the guy who drove the train? Was he a ticket taker? Nah, that didn’t sound right. Does anyone actually drive trains anymore, or are they all on auto-pilot like the airplanes? Remember when you could actually smoke on an airplane? What were they thinking?
“Tickets, please.” The ticket guy’s voice interrupted this fascinating stream of thought. I pulled my bag towards me, fished around for my wallet and finally presented my credit card along with the required tickets.
The ticket guy/ticket taker/conductor upgraded us for the aforementioned fifteen pounds each, sliding my credit card through his hand-held credit card thingy before handing me two new tickets and moving on.
Hubby was looking at me expectantly. “Done and dusted,” I told him.
“Huh? How much did he charge us? Did it work? Speak English, will ya?”
Sigh. Cough. Shiver. “Yes, just like the woman told me. We’re now officially first class passengers for only fifteen pounds more. You can relax.”
“Done and dusted? Where do you get this stuff? What was that thing you said to me when we were first dating? Remember? That English thing you threw at me?”
“Yeah. Behoove, that’s it. I mean, who talks like that? And our wedding ceremony, oh brother!”
“I told you to read through the vows beforehand. I encouraged your participation. You couldn’t be bothered. You left it all up to me, remember?”
“Who knew you were going to go with I pledge you my troth? What in the Hell was that? What in the Hell is a troth?”
I chose to interpret Hubby’s question as being rhetorical and closed my eyes. The next thing I remember is pulling into Bath Spa Station. I got up, unsteadily, from my seat and took a few steps towards our luggage.
“I’ve got it,” Hubby said, in a brook no argument sort of way.
“You can’t manage it all,” I told him.
“I can. You just worry about yourself.” God, I must look even worse than I feel. I directed Hubby to the elevator and we went down a flight.
Coming out of the lift, I marshaled what little strength I had to hand, took one of the bags from Hubby, headed towards the exit turnstiles and tried to get through.
The bar wouldn’t budge. Again I tried. Again the bar wouldn’t move. After my fourth attempt, and just before I was ready to duck beneath the arm and get the Hell out, a nice young man in a Great Western uniform approached.
“May I help you?” he asked. “Do you have your ticket?”
My ticket? What’s my ticket got to do with the price of turnstiles? Not in the mood to argue, I felt in my coat pocket and produced our tickets, which the nice man took from me and inserted into the little slot on the top of the turnstile, which then magically slid open. Yes, Reader, that’s how sick I was. Imagine my forgetting the reason for keeping one’s ticket handy.
Outside, it was a miserable day – grey and wet with a dash of blowing wind. I huddled under the awning and looked bleakly at the empty forecourt. Don’t let the picture above fool you. I swiped it off the web. When Hubby and I arrived, there was not a cab in sight. You’d think the cabs would have the arrival times down pat, especially in such bad weather, but there we were, marooned at Bath Spa Station.
“Where do we get a cab?” Hubby asked.
“But there aren’t any.”
“They’ll be along in a minute,” I told him, pulling my scarf up to my chin.
“Are you going to be okay?”
“I’m fine,” I said, lying through my chattering teeth, whilst all the while thinking a cab, a cab, my kingdom for a cab. Sigh.
Part Three Coming Soon!