July 29, 2012
LONDON CALLING (Day 6)
When some old baggage gets in your way
By Michael Lewis
MANCHESTER -- Nothing like a little drama to brighten up one's day.
Minutes before my morning train from Glasgow pulled into Preston on Sunday, I figured it was as good a time to get prepared to leave.
After all, I did not want to miss my transfer to Manchester.
My bag was at the bottom of the overloaded luggage rack that was crammed under and next to other bags.
A woman sitting across from the rack had her sizable bag in the aisle. I told her that I would help solve her problem because I needed my bag to leave the train. I managed to wrestle it loose from the pile. She then proceeded -- unsuccessfully -- to place hers in my bag's place.
In the meantime, the train had stopped and started unloading passengers. I reminded the woman that I had to get off and that her bag was blocked mine. She turned hers sideways -- as though that was going to solve the problem.
I was getting concerned I wasn't going to leave the train, despite my best efforts and preparations.
Finally, another passenger found a solution, stood up and placed the woman's bag on her seat. I hurried down the aisle to depart the train before it would leave the station, taking yours truly to parts south, headed for London. By that time I got to the door, new voyagers and their bags (Sunday apparently is a huge travel day here) were piling into the train and I had to negotiate them with my big bag.
(Quite frankly, I wasn't impressed with the Virgin train. There was not enough room for bags -- not very good planning, if you ask me -- which most likely for my near disaster).
I finally hit firm ground at the station.
Whew, I made it barely!
I had about 20 minutes to spare until my next train on another track.
While looking for something to eat at the newspaper stand, I could not find anything -- fruit, sandwiches, anything healthy to eat. Of course, there was plenty of junk food from which to choose (and we wonder why the population is overweight and obese). I decided it wasn't worth buying a thing.
As the train for Manchester pulled into the Porridge Parkway station I looked out to my left and noticed a stadium with a big sign that said Reebok with a stadium and lights behind it. It took just a couple of seconds to register that we had passed was Reebok Stadium, home of the Bolton Wanderers and former New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream.
By the way, there were no train departure problems at Piccadilly Station here in Manchester.
If things go the U.S.'s way, my next journey will take me to Newcastle on Thursday, with one or perhaps two transfers. Fabulous!
Hopefully, Thursday isn't considered a big travel day in Great Britain.