Remember that time when I got lost trying to find a newly opened shop?
Well, it happened again.
The getting lost bit, I mean.
And this time, I have nothing to blame but my own vampiric little self.
Vampires get easily distracted. You do know that, don’t you?
Suffering as I was from a bit of post-Christmas cabin fever, I decided on a little jolly to a town that’s only five minutes away by train. Let’s just call the place Llanbobl, shall we? Yes, vampires do feel the need to get out and about occasionally. Weird, eh?
I suppose it was different in the old days when you had acres of dilapidated castle to wander around. Or a village where you could move around freely at night because the villagers would have been fearfully tucked up (ooh, careful how you say that bit!) in their beds by then. Ah, the peace and quiet…
The last place I lived, it was more a case of police and riot.
I’m joking, of course – but only about the dilapidated castle and petrified locals. Those things aren’t real.
Well, they are, but in a different context.
These days, anything dilapidated will either be razed to the ground (that’s never sounded right to me – how do you raze/raise something downwards?) to make way for offices, a shopping centre or so-called ‘affordable housing’.
And the terrified villagers? We have other things to suck the life out of you these days. Taxes… Online gambling… Reality tv…
But I’m rambling now.
Nothing New There, I hear you say. How well you know me.
Anyway, I’ve had my jolly little jaunt out to Llanbobl and it’s time to go home. I start marching to the station, knowing that I have a good fifteen minutes to wait when I get there. Great. No rush. I’ve got the furbaby a little treat (as I’d promised her), so she’ll be happy to see me whenever. Indeed, once she’s said an enthusiastic hello to me, the next thing she usually does is bury her head in my bag to see what I’ve brought her.
Next, I find an amazing shortcut which saves me another few minutes. Okay, so now I have twenty minutes to kill at the station but I have food, so that’ll keep me busy.
I get there and…
My train is running late. Indeed, the one that comes after it will have to share the same platform (as they come in from different directions). Some stations have even named their platforms ‘A’ and ‘B’ to accommodate this duality.
Yes, what is that with half platforms? In the town where I used to live, there is one platform that’s actually two. I think it might be platform 6/7. So, even though there’s only one train there, because the doors are all automatic these days, if you get on the wrong side of the train, you then have to go all the way up the stairs, across and down to get onto the same train you would’ve been getting on anyway!
My train comes in. It’s a funky, old-fashioned train for a change and I jump on gratefully. It sets off.
In the opposite direction.
It turns out that my train was so late that the train after it has come in first. I should have checked a bit closer but the display board is doing that thing where it bounces between trains. Plus, my glasses are soaked, so I can’t see properly even if I tried to dry them off.
Trying not to panic, I explain to the guard my little
vampire blonde moment and he’s an absolute sweetheart about it. Really helpful. What’s the first station I can jump off at and go back?
His face falls. This is the Heart Of Wales line. It visits all the otherwise inaccessible bits of Central Wales. If I get off anywhere, I could be waiting hours (in the rain) for the next train. The easiest thing, he says, is to stay on the train. He says he’s getting off at Llanwrtyd Wells, crossing the platform and grabbing the next train back. I can follow him. It’s the quickest way.
I’d heard of the town before. How long will it take? I ask.
So I’ve caught the wrong train home and am now somewhere in mid Wales, with only 1% on my phone!
What to do?
Luckily, it was actually very pleasant. But it was quite weird. Because I hadn’t brought my usual bag with me, I didn’t have a notebook and pen nor a charging cable for my phone. So I had three hours of doing literally nothing. On the way out, the scenery was lovely. All fields and farms and pretty little villages. On the way back, of course, it was pitch black but it was fun to look into people’s houses ha ha!
If you ever have to get lost in the middle of nowhere, I highly recommend this particular bit of nowhere. Every other station was Llan-something. Actually, scratch that. About every one in four stations wasn’t Llan-something. And there were some very pretty little stations, with some interesting details.
But Heart of Wales?
In the nicest possible way, I’d go for small intestine – winding and seems to go on forever. It was roughly a 100 mile round trip at final count!
All that apart, as I said to the lovely guard as we crossed the tracks, it was actually a rather nice day out in the end.
Have you ever been on the train, seen a splendid house and thought ‘what a beautiful house, I’d love to live there’ and then realised ‘hang on, the only way I’m able to see it is courtesy of a dirty great train line at the bottom of the garden.’ So, no. I’m actually glad I don’t live there.
I was supposed to get home just after 3pm but ended up getting back sometime after 6pm. In fact, the hubster had gotten home, made a fuss of the furbaby and gone out for a run all before I arrived home. The treat I’d bought for the furball had by this time turned into a peace offering. She was nevertheless very pleased to see me.
And will I ever live this down?
Will I heck!
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