Tuesday 27 November 2012


Last week I went to Surrey to pick up my new motorbike. I went on Wednesday and rode it back on Thursday morning so that I could get to an important rehearsal on Thursday night.

My plan was simple:

  • 10:50 bus to the city centre
  • Walk to Plymouth Railway Station
  • 12:01 Train for Paddington
  • Change at Reading
  • Arrive at North Camp 15:30 and pick up the bike
  • Ride to Guildford town centre and do a little shopping (toothbrush heads, shaving soap, sci-fi books)
  • Arrive at my friend's house at 17:30 and stay the night.
Unfortunately on Wednesday most of Devon and Somerset were underwater and my itinerary changed:
  • Heavily delayed 09:50 bus to the city centre (it left at 10:50 but got in much earlier than I expected)
  • Walk to Plymouth Railway Station
  • Overpriced coffee and croissant to waste some time
  • 12:01 Train for Paddington
  • Train terminates at Exeter
  • Replacement bus to Taunton (no trains were leaving Taunton in either direction)
  • Wait in a queue for an hour and a half
  • Replacement bus to Bristol (took over two hours because of rush hour traffic)
  • 18:30 Train for Paddington
  • Change at Reading
  • Arrive at Guildford 21:14 where I would stay the night.
The toothbrush, soap and books I could live without, but the revised itinerary didn't involve picking up the motorbike which was a bit of a problem. Despite how long it took, the journey was fine. I got talking to a lovely woman from Torbay and a London cabby and we had a really good time. There were something like 200 people stranded at Taunton with us, out of all of them only two made a scene, and they were what spoiled our journey. It didn't seem to matter whether you shouted at the train staff or not, they could neither magic up any more busses, nor make the flood waters subside.

I picked up the bike the next day and drove it back through the worst storms we've had since 1988. It turned out that the bike needed to be treated very gently during the running in period so my journey back wasn't just cold wet and frightening, it was also very very slow.

The rehearsal that I simply couldn't miss was also flooded off.

Richard "best laid travel plans of mice and men" B

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