Monday morning rush hours on the M25 are about as easy to predict as a rabid dog so a 100 mile drive to Gatwick airport from Leighton Buzzard would have required a very early start to be sure of arriving in good time for Keith and Marlene’s 10:40 check-in. There is a direct train service from Flitwick straight through to Gatwick, however, taking a reasonably predictable 1hr 45 mins. So, we decided to go with the train option. 7:30 AM, load bags in car and cue waterworks from Marlene and Carol. (They had both been practicing for emotional trauma yesterday, along with my good self, by watching Out of Africa – great for flushing out the tear ducts.) After being together for five weeks and sharing many adventures without killing each other, the cutting of the umbilical cord was bound to be a tearful affair but cut it we had to and cut it we did.
I drove to Flitwick railway station with Keith and Marlene while Carol remained at home to rouse her mother in readiness for her delayed train ride back to Scotland. Alas, not many deer were visible through the grounds of Woburn Abbey but we arrived 20 minutes before the train was due for Keith to buy his tickets. I helped get the not-inconsiderable baggage up and over the bridge to the correct platform and managed to get into a very meagre single shelter from the relatively strong, cold wind. Thank goodness it was not raining. The train service is fine (at least I saw a baggage rack in the carriage) but the station is truly pathetic – no help for people with baggage and precious little shelter from the elements. Way to go! The train arrived on time, however, and they were soon safely on their way.
Back home to deal with Carol’s mother and send her packing back to Scotland. The Gods must have been smiling ‘cos we found somewhere to park at Milton Keynes station. The Virgin train to Carlisle arrived on schedule and our last remaining house guest was soon on her way back to the frozen north.
We’ve had a great December, Christmas and New Year but the house is empty now and it all seems eerily quiet. We’ll have to talk to each other.