OK, a straightforward Saturday then. Drive to Kettering station, park the car, grab the train to London, get a cab to the Royal Opera House, see The Nutcracker. Job done!
We got the station in good time, to see around 200 people waiting for a train to London on platform 3! Something was wrong, seriously wrong! It turned out that there was a major signalling problem and there were no trains up from, and down to, London.
’Plan B’ then. Back to the car, and if I busted my balls and drove like a loony, we could get to Bedford Station, park up, and then grab a train from there into St Pancras. Even then, timing would be tight.
Someone was smiling on us and we got to there in good time, deposited the car and jumped on the next train south. It arrived at St Pancras just after 1.40. That left us with just 20 minutes to get to the Opera House. Mission impossible? Quite probably! but Ann briefed the taxi driver and emphasised our deadline. Seconds later, we were breaking the sound barrier hurling through the back streets of London on a promise from the taxi-driver that “we’ll make it, in plenty of time...”
He was true to his work and we were going through the front door of the Opera House at 1.53 – with a generous 7 minutes to spare!
We took our seats, surprising Roger, Jane and Oliver (who didn’t know we were going there as well) and settled down for a bit of Christmassy escapism.
Just slightly later than advertised, it was curtain-up. It was a full-house and we were treated to a fantastic production – lavish sets, superb dancing and (for the girls) large cricket-boxes!
When the production finished around 4.20 we grabbed a cab, and at a more leisurely pace, headed for St Pancras International and something to eat. We settled for the St Pancras restaurant and their afternoon tea. There was plenty to go round – even for Oliver!
An hour-or-so later, we said our good-byes and headed for the train home. As we got close to the concourse at about 6.15, we realised there was still a problem. The train timetable was still ‘to-cock’ and there were hundreds waiting for a connection. Luckily for us, our timed-train, the 19.00 was running to time, and as it turned out, we were unaffected. Picking the car up from Bedford Station, we hurtled home, and were indoors by 8.30.
It’s been a great day, but that initial problem with the trains did threaten to screw things up!