A Trip to London: The Journey

The children had both had a half day on the last day of term. We’d booked to go to the Royal Academy of Arts the following day so decided to take the opportunity and stay over the night before – take our cameras, see some sights.

When our youngest got home from school, he wasn’t happy we were about to go back out so suddenly. Thursday is gaming day so he’d expected to be able to play his computer games. Upon being told ‘not today’, he reeled off how we should be doing things, pointing out that going to London straight after school wasn’t giving him any down time. This we agreed but also explained that he’d been given enough warning, although as usually this was met with a ‘well I didn’t hear!’. We finalised our packing, loaded the car and off we went.

Our local station being closed for maintenance, we went a little further out to catch the train, leaving the car in the overnight car park which upon driving into I suddenly forgot which side of the road I was supposed to be driving on. Slightly panicked I exclaimed ‘which side of the road am I supposed to be on?’ to which hubby confirmed the left and in we went.

We caught the train and went a few stops before we were due to change for another line. Hubby was walking off in front and the train we were due to catch was already at the platform. Being an underground train it wouldn’t have taken a few minutes for the next one to arrive but rather than wait he rushed off and jumped onboard. The eldest and I sped up, she jumped on board just as the doors started to beep their warning of closing and I was stuck standing on the platform knowing I wouldn’t make it in time without getting my rucksack stuck as it closed. I put my arms out to stop the doors closing, expecting them to reopen like a lift does, as they used to do, but on this occasion they didn’t. I stood staring down the platform waiting for the driver to reopen the doors but he didn. I had to release my arms and watch the doors finally shut with my family on the train and me still standing on the platform.

As the train pulled away, I called the driver a ‘tosser’ which I thought was under my breath although loud enough that unexpectedly the person near me heard, and I stepped back from the platform edge to think. I didn’t panic but just thought I’d catch the next train and meet them at our destination. I pulled out my phone to text them, realising I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what stop it should be, as this, I’d left upto my husband to plan. Especially as he uses the trains far more than I do. I sent a message, waited a minute but heard nothing. Being the underground I wondered if they’d have reception. Luckily my phone started to ring and it was them. They’d got off at the next stop, which I somehow hadn’t thought of, so told me to jump on the next train and they’d get on when I stopped at their platform. A few weird faces followed as we pulled up beside each other!

Once we were on our way again I started to think about our children and what if they had been stuck on their own. Of course this started to conjure up thoughts, feeling and emotions not required on our trip so had to hold back my urge to cry. I became. little protective of our son when getting on other trains after that or even lifts. It took a few hours to get rid of the horrible anxious feeling, the worry, the thoughts of: what would he do? would he cry? how would he react? It brought home the differences in comparison to other children his age, dragging up to the surface that pang of sadness we try so desperately to bury and ignore!

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