Hello fellow budget hunters
Todays post is just a chance for me to have a big old rant. I am having the day from hell and I just want to write down all my thoughts together so I hopefully feel better.
So the original plan for me on a bank holiday Friday, was to get the train from Cambridge around 2pm, get into London Victoria via a tube for 4pm which was when my trust megabus was leaving. Then get on the bus, glide through before rush hour and be in Cardiff by 7.50pm.
You see plans as glorious as this have a problem with going all over the place. Today I left the house at the right time to get a bus across cambridge to the station. When this bus didn’t show I should have taken it as a sign but I just waited.
One turned up, I signalled it – the bus stopped about 3 metres from me and then left as I walked towards it. Thankfully another one turned up a few seconds later and I was able to get to the station.
The next warning should have been when the ticket machine wouldn’t accept my card. On the third machine I tried, it eventually worked but I looked really annoying to the people around me as they queued and I jumped to the machine they wanted while offering my own.
However I was still not deterred. I missed my original advanced ticket train by a whole 45 seconds (the 45 seconds they lock the doors before departing) so I got on the next train to London. I have been on those trains so many times and today was the first time I have ever seen a conductor. I had a weird sense before getting on that today wasn’t my day and something was going to happen on the train.
The conductor looked at my ticket, then I explained what had happened. I needed to be in London and got the next train going there, now I can be very persuasive but today I don’t think anyone could have got out of this situation. The conductor, who was only doing his job – issued me with a fine of twice the single fare. Sadly for me that came to £47.20 so this journey became very expensive and my ticket was confiscated.
After this we pulled into Kings Cross and I no longer had a way of getting out the barriers. I went to the excess fares with my receipt and form for my fine so they could let me out but nobody was there not even when I rang the bell. By this time I knew I needed to be on the tube in the next 10 minutes. However in the only stroke of luck in the whole day – the barriers all opened while a very busy train was loaded. I slipped out the barriers and down into the tube.
There was a whole one way system around Kings Cross Tube station and there was only 2 barriers open to get into the Victoria line rather than the normal 10. In a true British fashion, people were queuing to the barriers and I got stuck there. I only had to wait a minute before the next tube and jumped on.
As for a lot of schools, today is the last day for year 11 pupils and I was surrounded by signed school shirts on the boiling tube journey. 28 degrees is the record for today and London is just muggy in the heat. I managed to get off and out into Victoria station promptly.
From Victoria train station I walked around the corner to the Coach station but stopped for some lunch/early dinner in sainsbury’s. In the coach station, it was sweltering and looked rather chaotic with the boarding. My bus was loaded about 3.50pm and we got away 5 minutes late. The driver was nice but did inform us that the aircon was unpredictable on the coach. Not ideal in the crazy heats of the day.
I was too positive about the time getting out of the London, we got caught by the Chelsea Flower Show and embankment for an hour. After 90 minutes we were almost on the M4 flyover but by now it was rush hour and we were pretty much stationary. That meant the warm muggy bus was getting even hotter by no airflow at all through the bus.
My personal predicament meant I was sat in front of a kissing couple who were obviously trying for a world record or something. Opposite me was the most annoying girl I’ve heard on a coach, she chatted very loudly on the phone almost yelling because she had headphones in. She talked to various different people for the first 3 hours non-stop. Most of it was about her sex life and partying which was fairly uncomfortable for people around especially with her graphic details of things we’d all rather not know about.
After we got near to Reading the bus driver told us we needed to stop legally for him to have a break. After half an hour, we all climbed back on the bus. I took advantage of the greggs to buy some more dinner and spoke nicely to a Barista in Costa to get my water bottle filled up. I would have done it in the sinks but the queue for the toilets was 30 people deep and didn’t want them to think I was pushing.
The next stop we had ended up being over an hour as the bus company didn’t believe the driver had stopped! I had been on the coach since 4pm.
At around 11.30pm we arrived back in Cardiff, 10 hours after I left Cambridge and a significantly lighter bank account. Lucky me – Never travelling that late in the day when I could have travelled at anytime. Also Bank holiday journeys are a big No-No!
I did thankfully get a refund from Megabus.com after all this and will still use their services as they are affordable and great from budgeting.
Hope you learn from my rants and laugh at my misfortune – I will in a few days I’m sure!