Yesterday I had an all day meeting in London. “Do you get paid for this?” my husband asked hopefully. No, it was another of those volunteer things I keep putting my hand up for. However my travel expenses are covered, and trips to London give me the chance to do things like see my uni friend Bella and nosy around my favourite bookshops undisturbed, so there are fringe benefits.

I looked at the time the meeting was due to start, looked at the train times and commute across London, and begged a bed from Bella. Bought my advance tickets online and, wonder of wonders, found that on the way down I could get a first class ticket cheaper than standard class. Yahay!

First problem: I forgot to print out the booking code which would allow me to collect my tickets from the station, and consequently had to buy another fricking ticket!  The man in the ticket office tried to get it for me, but the system wouldn’t let him in. I spent 10 mins on the phone to Third-and-final son (the only one at home) as he combed my email account looking for the code, but no joy. I spent the journey (in standard class) in mourning for my first class seat, and listening to the girl sitting next to me sniffing (I was going to offer her a tissue but then she started pulling her hair in front of her face so I assumed she was using that). When m’husband got home he had another look and finally found the email with the booking code – in a file I had created specially, labelled ‘orders and bookings’, and then promptly forgotten about.

Second problem: Had a comfortable night in Kentish Town with Bella, then pushed and shoved my way on to a sweaty and absolutely packed commuter train to get over to west London in time for the meeting. I made it in excellent time, only to be told that the meeting wasn’t being held at head office, but in a building near Euston Station! I could have bloody well walked there if I’d received the freaking email. So had to hustle to the tube station and still turned up late.

Third bad thing: Murder One is closing at the end of this month. Yah boo sucks. I bought a book but they didn’t have nearly as much stock as usual, understandably. However I rediscovered the Waterstones behind the British Museum and that has an excellent sf/ fantasy section, so I shall be spending more time there in future.

The journey home: No one turned up to use the reserved seat next to me, so I could spread out. However I did have to listen to the phone conversation of the man sitting behind me. He was calling his mother (which he did every day, apparently). He sounded like he was in his early 20s, informed her he had been to the toilet, and then gave a very drawn out account of how he had spotted this footballer in WHSmith’s and had stalked him around the shop until he found the courage to ask if he could take his photo.

I usually love my train trips to London. This one wasn’t quite up to standard.

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