…Oh my godddddd, what a clickbait title!
I live precisely 166 miles away from London (… well for now, because I don’t know if I’ve told you but I’m moving to London in September… well Kingston-upon-Thames. I’m sure you have your mouse/finger hovering over the close button ready to click it on the tab to this blog because of how many times I’ve bored you with this revelation. I’m just excited).
The saddest thing about living in Staffordshire is that the last train home is 11pm… if you can rely on the service running reliably. This means that an evening show and returning home on the same day is a big no-no. Oh, and I work Thursday’s and Saturday’s so seeing a matinee performance of my favourite shows (with the exception of Les Mis with its wonderful Wednesday matinees) is also a big no-no unless I can rearrange my shifts off work.
The last two trips I made solo (slash, without my parents) were both a little disasterous which has lead me to believe that perhaps I’m not destined for London…
On the 23rd February, I booked a shift off work and met up with Angel in London for a matinee performance of Phantom of the Opera and an afternoon tea. Three things went wrong that day:
- I was in the splash zone of a pigeon dropping its load at the train station waiting for my train to London Euston. My leg, foot and bag were covered with splashes of bird faeces. Disgustingggggggggg.
- The train had to regulate an extremely slow speed from Rugby to London turning the 2 hour and 12 minute journey (oh yeah, this is the slow train anyway… it usually takes 90 minutes on a cross country train) into a 3 and a half hour trip. Angel set off an hour after me and still got there an hour before…
- After a purely magnificent performance, I received a text message from my dad saying that the ‘trains may be cancelled home’. Slightly panicking, I went to Euston station to find the only trains north were to Milton Keynes and Watford Junction. Luckily after speaking to customer services and being in the right place at the right time, I caught the last train of the evening to Manchester Piccadilly and made friends with a civil servant who was sitting next to me on the journey home.
On the 19th April, I went down to London with my two amazing friendlings (obviously only saying that in case they’re reading this, I’m only jesting; they are amazing) to try our luck at dayseating (no such luck) and to exercise our touristing skills.
We had an incredible day exploring Camden Town, Soho and Oxford Street and we ate some amazing food. I had a New York bagel filled with shredded beef and cheese with sweet potato fries and Lizzie and Jess had a Chinese from a street market stall in Camden. Ugh heaven.
The first sign of something slightly out the ordinary came when we caught the tube from Camden Town to Oxford Street. We went through Euston station on the Northern Line when they announced the station’s ‘temporary closure’ due to ‘technical failure’. Finding nothing online about Euston’s closure, we ventured onto Oxford Street’s Lush to satisfy Jess, who spent 80 minutes in the shop talking to an employee about her life, Chinese dictators and the prospects of working in Lush. Meanwhile, Lizzie and I found a nice place to nap in the upstairs seating area.
We checked once more for updates on London Euston and discovered that there had been a fire at South Hampstead causing disruptions to some services. Trains to Manchester Piccadilly and Preston were running as normal and they were using a generator to supply temporary power. Reassured by this, we went to Wagamama (my favourite food establishment, ever!) and indulged in a sirloin steak teriyaki soba and a side of tora kara age.
As responsible adults (oh god, we’re actually legal adults), we made our journey from Leicester Square to Euston Station via the Northern Line allowing ourselves sufficient time to reach the station and to deal with the backlash of delays that we may experience. At Warren Street, a tannoy announced the closure of the ‘national rail service’. Putting this down to a huge exaggeration (I googled it… trains were still running), we walked to Euston to find the shutters down and the station closed. The departure boards read ‘no services tonight’. I’d actually done it… I actually got stranded in London (whilst my parents were on holiday too…)
There were a couple of chaps wearing red virgin coats dishing out advice on how to deal with no trains. Between us, we didn’t have enough cash for a spontaneous hotel room so we were what-you-call screwed. We were advised to head down to St Pancras International and see whether it was plausible to catch a train to Derby, Leicester or Sheffield (which was incredibly helpful considering Jess’ car was parked in Stafford…) Jess’ lovely momma offered her services and picked us up from Derby and made the 35 mile road trip to pick up Jess’ car. What a lovely lady! Oh, and to put the cherry on the cake, we aren’t eligible for a refund, ha…