Thursday, 8 July 2010

Day One - Tuesday, 6th July 2010

Monday had been fairly warm and what with the heat and the excitement of getting the SNB coupled with the absolute fear of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no transport meant that I didn't sleep very much. But nevermind! The sun shone, the Gruesome Twosome were playing along and not arguing with each other over breakfast.

But, as usual, the morning started to run away from me and after a round of packed lunch making and stuffing things into a bag, and 42 admonitions to the Gruesomes not to miss their bus I jumped on my bike and commenced mad pedalling.

Suddenly, I was at the station, out of breath and looking for somewhere safe to put my bike. A week or two ago Chef, who parks his in the bike racks, had his panniers stolen, and I don't want anything untoward happening to my own bike. So I found one of Telekom's funky public phones and chained the bike to that.

As I came up onto the platform the train was there so I hopped on it. It was only at the next stop that I realised that I was, in fact, on the wrong train. I live in such a one horse town that I'd stupidly assumed that there was only one train in the morning. In fact I managed to get off two stops down the line, trying to look as though I meant it and waited for my train to happen along.

A quick word about the trains. They are not the newest things in the world but they're not bad and they are clean. Luckily for people like me who forget to check all the stops between where I get on and off, they have automated announcements and also usually a display showing the next stop. A good thing was that the train was fairly full but not crowded enough that people had to stand (but several did - it turns out that many of them only ride on the train for a stop or two)

After half an hour on the train it was time to switch to the bus. My information, downloaded from the Deutsche Bahn website, told me that I had to walk for 3 minutes to the bus stop then take the number 87 (fast bus) for 3 minutes to the stop at Anrath Kirche where I was to wait for 8 minutes then take the number 71 to my destination in Willich.

As I got off the train a bus pulled in. It was a number 38 but I asked anyway and, lo, it was going to where I wanted to be. It even stopped at the stop that my next bus would come to. 8 or so minutes later my bus turned up, I got on and off we toodled.

Result: I was at work. And I wasn't late or anything.

But then I had to get home again. At 17:17 I presented myself at my bus-stop to get the 71 back to the church to get the 87 back to the station. But the first bus was late and as it pulled up to the stop, I saw my other bus pulling out. Not good, as my train was due to leave ten minutes later.

I found the correct stop to get the 87 to the station, to find that the 38, which I'd taken that morning, was due to leave at 17:41. Probably too late for my train, but what the heck, there would be another - I'd only have to wait an hour at most. But that bus was also late - and when I asked the driver so that I could be sure I was on the right bus to the right place, he got all stroppy. Hmmmm.

As it happened I got to the station at 17:55 to find out that there was a direct train home at 18:08, so I took that. My bike was still where I'd left it which was a bit of a bonus.

25 minutes later I made my triumphant entrance at home and promptly collapsed on the sofa in a heap.

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