So last Friday, the end of a week away trundling, I found myself heading for the last event. I was heading from Blackpool to Hexham at the other side of the country. I left a sunny Blackpool first for Preston, where I had to change for Carlisle.
The lovely Jasmin at Bloomsbury always sends me a detailed plan, so I’m always comfortable. However I arrived at a chaotic confused Preston as many trains were delayed 😳. No one seemed to know what was going on and I couldn’t even go and get a calming cuppa due to queues and crowds. So I disappeared into a quiet corner and played solitaire for a few minutes.
Once calmer I then looked around me for a smiley person to help. I showed him my ticket and luckily Jasmin had got me an ‘Anytime’ ticket. So he just told me to hop on the first one that eventually arrived. More knowledgeable smiley people needed at stations!🙄
Needless to say the train was chocca due to all the delays but I knew it would only be for an hour before the next change. I was simply lucky and found a seat that would take me and my large suitcase – all the luggage areas were overflowing too🤯……..
Sheilagh Matheson, who would be interviewing me on stage, had said she would meet me at Hexham station instead of the usual car. Was very tempted to get off at Penrith….my stop for Keswick…….🥰…….but knew it wouldn’t be many weeks before I was in paradise again so faithfully got off at Carlisle and waited for my final train.
I think I made the guards day in Preston. When I showed him my ticket he whooped with delight to see I was going to Hexham😳 …..he didn’t know where it was but knew he’d never seen a Hexham ticket before. Apparently they score an extra point if they see a previously unseen destination…..😳🙄……well I suppose they have to brighten their days somehow……..
I’d never made the journey from west to east from Carlisle before and there was some beautiful scenery despite the grey skies….along with lyrical northern names of previously unknown stations – Haltwhistle, Bardon Mill and Hayden Bridge before Hexham appeared…..
Sheilagh meet me off the train as promised and we drove to the venue in the centre of town where we had time for a much needed cuppa. The organiser, whose name has escaped me joined us and then took us into the dressing room before having a look at the stage and doing a sound test. We sat and chatted for a while before it was time to go on stage. There were more people than they’d expected so we were welcome by about 100 people.
I havn’t a clue what we chatted about but at the end there were lots of questions. There was also much laughter, which is alays a good thing whilst not undermining the daily struggles.Usually if I’m on my own I have my talk to look at to remind me what I said, but when I’m in conversation with someone on stage, it remains a mystery🙄
Someone kindly took a piccie….
At the end people were very kind with their applause and I had a queue of people waiting for me to sign books when I went back into the foyer. There were many lovely people in the queue but one remains in my head, a student nurse – my favourite species……..More questions came with the signing and it was sooo nice to meet everyone. The book stall only had 6 books left once we’d finished so I signed those too.
After goodbyes, Sheilagh took me to my B&B. A lovely old house just on the edge of the town. Once I’d got in and familiarised myself with the room I decided not to take my coat off and instead go for a walk into town before coming back to hibernate for the rest of the evening. It was a lovely town and in the centre I found this not so hidden bluebell gem in the park……
Really looking forward to going home after a verrrry long but lovely week……..