26 January 2008

Almost missed the flight to Hong Kong

It was the big day yesterday. The family, Ryan (5 months) Danni my wife and me was on a long haul fight from London to Hong Kong then en-route to China to see the family there. To get to the Gatwick airport, we need to take express train from home station.

Once a few years back, I have some bad experience on rail travel to this airport. The distance is so long, it involves at least one connection, maybe two or three if need to going to central London first. In that incident, the delayed railway work had many train services cancelled, and we had been delayed at the start of the trip – then a chain of delays had we missed the fight when were finally at the airport although we leave a plenty of time for the travel.

The Deja Vu was back this time. We almost miss the flight yesterday.

We arrived at train station at 18 minutes before it arrived. Two huge luggage, three pieces hand carried bags, Ryan and his buggy were unloaded from the taxi. Did I say three? Wait, ‘honey, do you see my laptop bag?’

The bag with laptop and other important things was left at home. Without them I have to cut short my hols, and buy another ticket home in two weeks time. Panic, in a very desperate attempt, Danni, Ryan and a suitcase were left at the platform, put one rucksack back, and I was drove home with the taxi to get the bag.

It 9s about 10-15 minute one way drive from home to the station in a clear traffic. This time it was very busy, the lunch hour. A lorry and a wagon joined up in front, every traffic light turned into red when we up to it. Radio reported midday, 12 minutes before the train arrives on half way to my home.

I didn't know how Danni would handle things neither: buggy, a huge suitcase (38KG) and Ryan. Some passed-by help her to move the suitcase into the station concourse. But then and she needs to draw some cash from outside station and collect tickets from fast ticket machine. I thought I am going to miss them.

Taxi pulled stop at a near exit it may make it a minute or two quicker than if drove up. I ran the shortcut uphill to collect the bag, locked the door. The heart was beating so fast, and the hand is so shaky I dropped the key when locking the door. Ran the short cut to meet the taxi, and we back.

When I daring enough to look at the time. The dashboard display was showing an airbag warning so the time is not showing. Maybe that was not a bad news after all.

The train arrived just when the taxi waiting for oncoming traffic so to turn right on the road and got into station. Then I found I have no money to pay the additional taxi fare. I have got only got a fiver, which paid to the driver already - with additional round trip - I have got no money. That is why I need Danni to get some cash.

On Phone asked Danni to get onboard first. With so many things, it was just nightmare to move things on its own. Danni asked a staff member to hold the train for 1 minute. Replied 'Sorry madam, I can’t hold a train'. It was a virgin west coast fast train. i think probably he could if it was a slower local train. They went onboard without waiting

I told the driver the embarrassing truth before she pulled stop and I slam the door open. She let me off although not very happy - I won't blame her. I thanked her very much and promised will pay back once I am back.

Got the laptop bag, and cuddling the other huge rucksack from the boot, desperately run to the platform. Luckily it was at platform 1, so no need to jump down rail track or run through the passenger bridge.

The train was still there, first class door was still open, right in front. Before I dove into the coach, I asked the staff 'Are they on?' he smiled and nodded, ‘Yes, they have’.

The train was 2 minutes late, and probably been hold for 15 or 30 sec.

Danni was very cool in the situation, and Ryan was very helpful, no crying whatsoever. When they were on, Danni found him had already napped away.

1 comment:

ajmg said...

Goodness me I feel exhausted myself after reading about your travel tribulations. I hope the rest of your holiday is more relaxing! Have a good time over there :)