… So here I am, the only person in Paddington station. Starting to feel a bit like Harry Potter, on the 9 and ¾ platform.
I manage to track a member of staff down and tell him that I need to get to Worcester. His first question was, am I sure this is in England. Umm, the map said so, last time I looked. I explain it’s next to Birmingham. “Aw, Wustaaa…”, “Umm… yeah, that one.” He advises buying some tickets for Paddington, which I do quickly. And then I stop in my tracks. I only just noticed I’m alone again, surrounded by a thousand corridors. But there’s no time to contemplate which one to head down to. I hear a muffled noise, like a faraway storm, and then I see them…
People, running furiously, dragging me along, spreading in different directions, like a deranged bee hive. It’s hard enough to hold myself to the ground and the cases, never mind catch one to ask for directions. So, I do what I consider best in crisis situations. I slam my cases down, me on top of them and give it a good, healthy cry. Someone crouches down by me – presumably he tripped over me – and asks me if I’m ok, and to calm down. I manage to tell him I’ve got lost and after he finds out where I need to get to he tells me to follow him. Grateful someone is actually helping me, I listen to him. I am finally in a train, and I reach it – the elusive Paddington Station.
I try to get in and a man in front of a little gate stops me. I need tickets, apparently. I show him my tube tickets. “You need train tickets, love”. Right, I knew that. So where do I get them? He points out to the other end of the station. It bloody well would be there, wouldn’t it! After I assess the stairs and half a mile I need to get across, I turn around to the nice man at the gate and ask if I could leave my luggage with him for a teeny weenie moment till I run to buy the tickets. The guy gives a little snort of disbelief, but before he gets to mock me properly for my dumb request, I am already down the steps and saying “thank you”.
It was about 22:00 when the train pulled in Shrub Hill Station, in Worcester. I should have been there about 6 hours earlier. But next to the prospect of spending the night in a train station, that I was contemplating before, 6 hours delay is nothing, right?
I like to believe that I’ve grown up a bit since then, but I am still a bit weary of trains, tubes and buses. For any of you that will be flying to England for the first time, or simply moving from another town, and suffer with the same direction issues as I do, please feel free to ask any questions here. I will try to make your arrival as problem-free as possible.