Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It’s funny how things sometimes work out in life. There are these coincidences or events that just time out so well. Last night I took the train down from Cambridge to London. I was expecting, and hoping, that Tia would have gotten the key to the flat, everyone would be settled and happy after their journey. They were supposed to arrive by 1pm GMT, so they ought to have time to clear customs, ride the Underground in from the airport and get to the flat. One train, the Piccadilly line, riding to Holburn station, walk 3 blocks, and there you have it.

I left work around 4:30, heading to the train station with some trepidation about the journey. It ought to be easy, but there are a lot of trains here in the UK and I wasn’t sure that I would get down without some issue after all my travels.

Instead it was a smooth cab ride to the station, which was small. The inside felt like it was 40x40 or smaller, and while I wasn’t brave enough to trust the automated machines to get me a ticket, there was no line at the ticket booths and the gentleman helped me get a return (round trip) ticket to Kings Cross. There were 4 platforms, and I wasn’t sure I was reading things correctly on the displays, but a railway worker pointed me to the right platform and train.

My first clue that something not might be smooth was when I texted Tia as I sat to wait for the train. She said they were clearing customs just then. Wow, 5:00 and they were at the airport. I hadn’t had much communication, but I did hear that the Ks flew ahead of Tia and Delaney on an earlier shuttle since the tickets were different for that leg for some reason.

I texted back that we’d likely arrive at a similar time. Then waited for the rush hour crush on my bench. It never came, since i was going against traffic for the most part, and had a fairly quick journey into London. I say on the train, reading on the iPhone, stopping to look at the green countryside at times. Not a lot to see, no leaves on trees, lots of fields, rolling hills. Nice to look at, but not what I’d call beautiful. I knew we were getting close to London as we hit a few tunnels. I was surprised as the air pressure passing through those, squeezing my ears and forcing me to pop them.

Kings Cross was busy, but I didn’t have much trouble navigating down to the Piccadilly line and buying a ticket for the journey. Once again I used a ticket booth, and got charged 6 pounds, which seemed high, but I didn’t feel like arguing. Instead I grabbed a train, riding one stop to Russell Square and emerging into the hustle and bustle of downtown London. Navigating around was easy to do mentally, not so easy physically with a large laptop bag and a large rolling suitcase, but it was a short 3-4 blocks to the flat.

I hadn’t printed things out, so I was slightly going on memory. I passed the rental office, since it was after 5pm, I thought we’d have to call someone. In a doorway on the side of the street, I broke out the laptop, fired it up and got the address. Just around the corner, so I packed up and walked over there. I knew Tia was close as she texted she was leaving Holburn station. I must have just missed them. As I was getting the number for the porter, she called, and we talked. She said they were on the street I’d just left.

Walking over there, I found my family, excited, with kids jumping around on the other side of the street. Tia walked over, and I got a kiss from my wife. Something that I haven’t gotten on on 18 or 19 over the last month. What timing that we arrived there at almost the same time, they from Denver, and me from Cambridge after 3 days apart.

We had some trouble dialing a UK number, but managed to figure it out after 3 or 4 attempts. I picked up the key, and we were in our flat. 2 floors, but up on the third floor (2nd UK), 3 bedrooms, and fairly nicely setup. Basic, and 2 single beds in each room, but overall a nice setup.

Everyone was tired, or at least the adults were. We wandered around briefly to get dinner and then had everyone turn in around 10, though Tia had already fallen asleep.

Up early for me, awake at 6, desparately trying for more rest until 6:45, and managing to relax, but not sleep. Then a run up Tottenham Court Road for 1.8mi before heading back to the train. A nice journey, and most of this written on the way.

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