A taxi was called for us as we exited the hotel. The driver, a white-haired gent, zipped in and out of the bus lane, squeezing past everyone else and merging back into the other lanes when he felt like it. Despite his frantic driving, it took us longer than I expected to reach Kings Cross Station.
While we waited for our platform to be announced, we alternated between eyeing the boards (we had to get to our first class carriage first so we could fit our luggage in) and smiling at the queue of fans trying to get their shot with the special Platform 9 3/4 wall. It was conveniently positioned beside a Harry Potter shop that had its own queue! Happily, the change machine wasn’t working near the 30p toilets so they waved us through for free.
Platform 1, the board suddenly said. We raced over, but the crowd was coming! Carriage M - Carriage M - it seemed so far away. We flung ourselves in after our heavy bags - I pulled my right calf muscle in the process - and success! Both giant suitcases stowed in the luggage racks.
Middle-aged middle class women complained that there was no room for their little hand luggage bags. Sniffing at their misfortune, they instead managed to fit them perfectly into the shelves running over our heads. Bloody menaces, glad we beat them!
We had a comfy two-seater opposite two others, a table between us. Celebrating that the tickets on our companions’ seats announced we’d be alone until York, we relaxed (after a brief freak out over misplacing our tickets) with the free wifi and friendly service.
Sandwiches, snacks, tea, coffee - constantly at our command. I chatted to my mum and brother in Australia on Facebook, whiling away the time. I enjoyed seeing the water and castle ruins at Berwick-upon-Tweed. I also squinted to vaguely see the Holy Island. When I saw the Salisbury Crags rise in the distance, I knew we were near.
Edinburgh greeted us with a constant dusting of rain and chills. Was this summer? There was only one lift per platform - the staff member assisting a woman in a wheelchair bemoaned this. There were huge clusters of people with luggage stampeding in slow motion into the cramped space as it appeared. The staff member also despaired that no one using the lift had any presence of mind to hit the “up” button until she called into the lift for them to do it.
A taxi ended our journey as we began it. 5 pounds got us to our one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and washer/dryer. Each apartment here has its own router and all have the same password so my MacBook jumped onto the apartment I stayed in 2 years ago! I quickly rectified that.
We got groceries from Sainsbury’s then hit a second-hand bookshop before heading down to that expensive cashmere shop just before closing time. I adorned myself in a purple jumper, a purple scarf (with Swarovski crystals!) and purple gloves. The saleswoman very easily sussed out my purple obsession. She seemed surprised at how quickly I chose my purchases.
Little did she know, I had been there 2 years before, sure I could never even afford a scarf, let alone something else. My fiancé makes me feel like Cinderella. The saleswoman helped us figure out how to claim the tax back and sent us on our way before shutting up shop. I swung my shopping bag, beaming, and my fiancé enjoyed my happiness.
An Internet friend said I should think of my cashmere as an “international hug”. It certainly feels nice…!
Dinner was had. Internet still a bit shitty but is nationwide problem.
Damn I’ve missed you, Edinburgh.