Europe 1999 ???????????


Today after much wrestling with my PhoneAway card, I finally managed to get it working (Telstra had provided the wrong local number to dial) and checked our voicemail at home. 14 messages no less, the most immediately significant of which was that the ticket for L that I’d booked through the Ticketmaster UK
web site for a concert with Lyle Lovett that Friday at the Royal Albert Hall had been cancelled – it turns out due to the death of his father. What a bummer. Tell you what though, full credit to Ticketmaster. In the following days and weeks we would discover that apart from the phone message, they also e-mailed several times AND sent a registered letter about it which was waiting at home in Melbourne. Plus a refund of course. Shame about the concert though, L would have enjoyed that.

Peeking over the gate to the sea at my grandparents house
Letting the kids peek over the fence to look at the sea at my grandparents’ house.

We packed up some of our stuff for a few days on the south coast of England with my grandparents. We took the bus to East Croydon station, and after a quick stop at Safeway and Boots for supplies, got on the train, with me assuring L all the while that we’d be able to buy sandwiches on board. Nup. No trolley service. D’oh! Thank goodness for L’s hastily bought emergency chocolate supply.

We rolled into Bognor Regis about an hour and a half later, and while waiting for my grandparents, availed ourselves of the very excellent (if a little slow on the service) Whistle Stop cafe in the station. Why do all cafes in railway stations invariably get named the Whistle Stop? Aren’t there any better names that could be used?

Grandpa and Gran arrived a few minutes later, and we piled into their Fiat for the drive to their house by the sea, with no close calls at roundabouts this time. After unpacking, we attempted to take a walk along the sea, but it was far too rainy and windy. Ah well. Eventually the rain let up, and after playing with the kids in the garden, we took a walk to the local village shops and got in some supplies – a newspaper, snacks, and some toys to keep the kids at least mildly amused and stop them destroying the house.

After dinner we settled down to a quiet evening of chatting, watching telly, drinking sherry, that kind of thing.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.