Journey to Winchester
The journey begins. Coffee in hand (coconut latte from the local independent), heading off to Victoria station on an unusually sunny October Saturday morning. Lots of families with young children on the Victoria Line, probably looking for a green patch in… Green Park?
Arriving at Victoria Station was an easy affair. As I came out of the tube, the smell of bacon butties and pastries engulfed me, but alas, my priority was getting the ticket first. Coffee still in hand, I fumbled around with my purse, finally managing to dig out the email with the booking number.
There was no queue at the self-service machine, but a massive queue of people with trolleys at the standard (traditional) ticket desks. Side stepping that, still fumbling in my bag, careful not to spill any coffee on myself, I made my way to a self-service ticket machine to be greeted by a message saying “please choose railcard type”. No railcard type here, so I pressed to start again and choose my prepaid tickets.
I was a bit disconcerted by a message “please enter the card you used to pay for the ticket”. I did not have that card so I restarted my journey, thinking I might have missed something. A second attempt and I entered a card, not THE card, praying it would work. It did! They finally asked for my booking number and the tickets were swiftly printed. As soon as that was done I could hear the PA: “the 10:25 train to Horsham is departing from platform 11. First stop Clapham Junction”. Knowing I had to stop at Clapham Junction and change for the South Western Railway to Winchester I hurried. With only 5 min to spare I made my way to the platform and onto the train. It was the Southern line. Fairly clean and not too packed. Wi-Fi picked up almost immediately and good connection too. Across the aisle, a French group were chattering deliciously about food, whilst eating bread rolls. My stomach grumbled as I realised I had skipped breakfast again.
At Clapham junction I was met with a bit of a difficulty, which was promptly solved by good old Google who knows exactly what platform the train to Winchester was leaving for. Platform 9 (unfortunately not 9 and 3/4). And I have 10 min to spare. What Clapham junction lacks in terms of notice boards (either that or I didn’t look hard enough) makes up for in bagels and pasties. However, I had little time to deliberate and I chose a massive salted pretzel, which made me very thirsty indeed.
The train arrives with a gentle puff and the red upholstery of the seats which can be seen from outside gives it a posh appearance indeed.
As I take my seat (unallocated seating) I notice there are no charging sockets on this train. The trays are a bit small so I can only place my laptop on them. The coffee cup will have to sit on the tray belonging to the seat next to me. The Wi-Fi is a bit slow but at least it’s there. It’s taking me to the South Western Railway website which is a very colourful and animated experience.
I discover with a twang of disappointment that this seat makes it rather hard to do any work on it. The trays are definitely not designed for any laptops or work to be done on them, as the laptop keeps sliding off. But I don’t like to complain too much. The train carriage is very quiet and pleasant. A young lady is enjoying her yoghurt granola breakfast across the aisle, while on the seat behind her, a man in his 60s is doing the crossword puzzle. There’s no chatting among friends (yet) as this carriage is mostly filled with lone travellers. So far. This works for me as I managed to fill the empty seat next to me with my belongings.
The Wi-Fi isn’t strong enough for me to upload my lovely pictures onto captureme, but I will make another attempt shortly. As we arrive in Farnborough, attempt at decency prompts me to clear the empty seat next to me.
The train carriage is a bit livelier now, with 3 blokes having some breakfast beer (Kronenbourg) a few seats in front of me. Place has got a bit chattier but around me, the same quiet people are reading the paper and doing the crossword puzzle. we’ve left Fleet and are approaching Basingstoke. Outside my window things are getting greener by the minute. This pleases me. I spy some beautiful cows basking in the sunshine and I smile. It’s the little things.
A lady with a food cart came by at Basingstoke. Alas, my coffee had finished and snobbery didn’t allow me to follow it up with the instant coffee served on the train. I was also disappointed they didn’t have Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. After Basingstoke, the next stop Winchester. This has been a short and pleasurable train journey. the end destination is Poole and I am half tempted to stay on and visit this city. my eyes had lingered on the name on the map a couple of times. it will have to wait till next time though.