Coast to Coast

7th May 2011: The Homecoming

We had set our alarms for the last time and awoke to another bright but coolish day

Breakfast was very good, as we had hoped, after last night’s very good dinner. We packed for one last time and had a final look down towards the sea from the balcony before heading off to the shop just up the road for a paper and a couple of things to eat for the journey. We sauntered over to the bus stop and as we waited we saw Caroline and Peter arrive to catch their bus on the opposite side of the road. We waved them off as they disappeared around the corner and then it was just us, alone, and I did feel alone even with Rachel standing right next to me.

Emotions are strange things but I just wanted to go now and get home and to reality, but at the same time I knew what reality was. We were heading back to all the troubles and problems that come with everyday life, and of course work. We had been cocooned in our own little bubble for just over 2 weeks and rarely did these mundane things break in to our subconscious. But, we had to go, to see our family, our relations and of course our cat Freddie, who no doubt couldn’t give a monkeys that we had been away for such a long time.

We heard the unmistakable drone of the bus diesel engine before we saw it. We clambered on board and just to get me in the mood for the Monday commute, we had to stand all the way to Scarborough. The drive was quite exhilarating, the speed, even in a bus seemed quite scary as the driver swung around corners and flew down hills. We were deposited at Scarborough train station but we had over an hour to kill so we took the opportunity to go into a nearby Tesco for some more food and then wandered off to the sea. We hadn’t a clue where we were going but we ended up next to the Grand Hotel looking out over the bay.


We didn’t have enough time to go to the beach so we turned and headed back to the station and our train for the next leg to York. As it was lunch time we started on our food supplies during the trip as the train took the strain.

We arrived at York just about on time but we had a short while before our train to London Kings Cross arrived, so no need to panic. There were more people about, as you would expect and as our train turned up there was the normal scramble of everyone trying to get on all at once. We found our pre-booked seats which were conveniently situated close to the luggage rack. Once underway we had a coffee and more food and as the miles ticked by it didn’t seem too long before we stopped at Peterborough and then finally London. Kings Cross was busy as was the underground that took us to London Bridge. We were packed in like sardines with our packs not helping, but we weren’t the only travellers with luggage so didn’t feel too bad. On arriving at London Bridge it was quite strange as this is the London end for my daily commute so I knew it quite well! In just one days time I would be back here again doing the daily grind and after the freedom of the open countryside I wasn’t looking forward to it.

We found our train and soon started on our final leg back home. The very familiar countryside flew by and very soon we were walking down the steps and out on to the station forecourt at Haywards Heath. The last 45 minutes of our trip, on our final train, saw us come full circle. We had gone up one side of England by public transport, walked across and then come back down the other side, again all by public transport – who needs cars. We now had the final mile or so to get home and I was looking forward to doing it all on foot – from door to door, but our son Dave had other ideas. He had decided that he would surprise us and be waiting for us at the station to give us a lift home. It was a lovely gesture from him and we readily agreed to hop in, although if truth be told I was a bit disappointed that we couldn’t walk victoriously up our road having done everything under our own steam. We arrived home to a subdued welcome from the cat, it was as if we had just come back from the shops.
It was good to be home, and considering what we had seen, what we had done and what we had been through, it seemed incredible that it only felt like yesterday that we had last been in our house.


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