As with most of my holidays, this one started with a frantic rush. Or more to the point, at a frantic pedal.
The week of the 16th – 22nd April 2012 had from the off been ‘one of those weeks’. Out every night for one reason or another, and with barely time to stop and consider the useful tasks of cleaning and cooking. The weekend of the 21st – 22nd therefore resulted in cleaning, shopping and forgetting (but remembering just in time) I was out at a performance on the Saturday night as well.
So naturally, in the build up to my 2.45 departure grew increasingly frenetic as I ran to and fro addressing many issues in preparation. In the end, I ran out of the door at 3pm leaving washing up drying in the rack, and the kitchen bin lidless awaiting a new liner. The legibility of my note to my parents is up for debate.
My cycle to Nottingham train station was seven miles completed in half an hour – ten minutes less than my usual 40 minute standard. With my two packed panniers, I’m rather pleased with that although it wasn’t easy. Arriving in time to make my way down to the platform, squeeze through the substantial queue for the opening doors and hoist my bike onto the carriage.
Mental note for the future – 3.45pm on a Sunday afternoon is not a good time to travel across country to Manchester and Liverpool. Especially with a bike. The two carriage train was jam packed, seat reservations had gone out of the window and my bike was left surrounded by a sea of suitcases and disgruntled standing passengers. I can understand their frustration that my bike was taking up room and blocking three folding seats, but I had equally booked it onto the train and needed to put it somewhere. There is a question to be asked of the train companies for bicycle and indeed large luggage storage.
However, the journey was uneventful and in the end I managed to ease off the train at Liverpool South Parkway. I had more time than anticipated to cross the glitzy station, and decided to make the most of the opportunity to visit the facilities. Second mental note of the trip, if you are running close to your train (and I include having ten minutes to wait) you might want to reconsider this option. The automatic mixed gender toilets are infuriating. Between each user the door closes again and the entire space is rinsed and cleaned. I appreciate a clean venue, but I prefer it dry. The other frustrating element of this experience, was the continuous automatic voice that explained the layout and cleaning routine. Once I have heard this three times (as I queue) I am slightly peeved. Luckily, as there was nowhere to lock my bike up in the station, my Pinnacle Status and panniers fit into the space. It probably was a good thing that they cleaned the floor on my departure. I made it back onto the platform with only a minute to wait for the next train. The Metrolink to Southport was a far cry from the packed East Midlands carriage, and even with a flood of Liverpool fans returning from a miserable match, there was space to spare for the duration of the final hour of my journey.
Andy, my travelling companion and Uni friend was waiting to collect me from the station, before we meandered our way back to his house where we spent a jovial evening before retiring for the night. Ever the gentleman, Andy gave up his double bed for the sofa, enabling me to relish the space afforded to sleep diagonally.
Part one of my travel diary- hopefully more creative than the usual journal (the debate where to locate it on RB is still running!).
In my home version, I will include the pictures that I will link to in later versions (none needed in this version).