People watching – a new hobby

Euston_station_concourseWell, it was all hands on deck this morning as we prepared for Dorothy’s departure for Edinburgh. She will be north of the border for about four weeks, but the number of cases and bags we had to manhandle onto the 10:43 at Euston you would have thought she was going for six months at least. I was exhausted carrying it all from the car to the platform. Thankfully First Class is at the beginning of the train so we didn’t have to drag it all down the full length of the platform.

I am not particularly good at farewells. I never know what to say or what to do. Once you have said the usual “I’ll miss you” and “hope you have a good time”, what else is there to say? I always find it difficult finding the rights words in that kind of situation.

And the whole hugging thing always makes me feel rather awkward. I see other people wrapping their arms around each other, all their emotions on public display and I just find it all somewhat embarrassing, particularly when it is happening on the platform of a busy mainline railway station.

Anyway, we said our goodbyes. The girls were both in tears, obviously rather upset about the separation, even though Angela is going up there next weekend. This kind of thing is always difficult; I never know what to do when grown women cry. I thought about putting my arms around Angela but didn’t want to upset anyone, particularly Dorothy, so I walked away a little and left them to it.

Once Dorothy’s train had left, Angela and I returned to the station concourse where she asked if I would like to join her for a coffee. Now, I don’t normally make use of the facilities at railway stations. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about this. My reticence about railway station refreshments has nothing to do with the surroundings or my fellow passengers; it is all about the quality of the food and drink. Not that I have ever eaten or drunk anything from those little outlets that line the concourse, but I can see enough to tell me that it is just not my kind of food. However, with Angela standing beside me, her eyes still wet from crying, I felt sorry for her and so agreed to sit with her for a while. I was pleasantly surprised when she led me not to one of those fast food stalls but a small and very pleasant bar overlooking the concourse.

Strangely enough, this was the first time that Angela and I had been alone together for any length of time. I found it slightly awkward at first, trying to make conversation with cousin’s girlfriend – the only thing I knew we had in common was Dorothy. As it was, I found Angela to be very pleasant company. From our seats in the bar, we had a good view of the station and very soon found ourselves discussing the mass of humanity we saw passing before the window. Apparently, this is something that she and Dorothy do a lot, quite often making up stories about the people they see. I can see the attraction of this harmless pastime, but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it. I did try, but it seems I lack the imagination required.

Whilst we were talking I thought I saw Hope and Charlotte walking towards one of the platforms, but I couldn’t be certain. Everybody is rushing so much, desperate not to miss their train, that it is very difficult to follow an individual. Angela has never met either of them so she couldn’t say.

We stayed in the bar for a little over half an hour before Angela left to return to her flat and I made my way to the Club. It had been quite a busy morning so I felt I deserved a good lunch and some fine wine. And if there is one place I can guarantee both, it’s the Club. The new chef is a veritable culinary wizard; what that man can do with the simplest of ingredients is nothing short of amazing. A couple of the chaps asked if Dorothy had arrived safely in Edinburgh and I had to admit that I had no idea. One fellow even suggested that I telephone her, which would be well and good if I had a note of her number on me. Which I didn’t. So I called her when I got home and it seems that all is well north of the border. Her train had arrived almost on time and the hotel she was staying in was comfortable and clean. I was happy with this and will pass the information on the fellows at the Club tomorrow.

In the meantime, I settled in for an evening of Strictly Come Dancing and some family tree research.

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