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Friday 14 May 2010

And so, to Bath. My wheelie bag and I set off from the Science Museum after work, eager for the delights of Bath. Paddington Station is just the other side of Hyde Park, which is just down the end of Exhibition Road, where the Science Museum is. I figured it would be a nice leisurely stroll after work. Halfway to the station in the morning I realised I'd forgotten my A-Z. I walked in the opposite direction and caught the tube three stops.

Paddington is a typical London mainline station. A bit of Victorian, a bit of modern (glass and steel), lots of people milling, High Street shops and takeaways and train indicators that never seem to change very fast. My train left at 5.30. All the other trains had platforms except mine. 5.10 no platform; 5.20 no platform. I had a seat booked but it didn't bode well for anyone who didn't. 5.25 and, finally, a platform. A collective groan went up as everyone realised it was the platform furthest away.
A mass migration, resembling an edge of panic stampede of wildebeest, started moving towards the far reaches of the station. From the station concourse the mob turned left towards the platform, immediately funnelling the numbers into a squishy crowd trying to get through three automatic ticket machines. Of course, my ticket wouldn't work so I had to back up, annoying a few people, and show it to the non-automatic station guy who let me through the barrier.

weir just down from pulteney bridge, river avon, bathI found my carriage and thence my seat. Ah, comfort. I had intended to use my Netbook but it was too crowded. I had ordered a table seat but with all four seats taken, there really wasn't room for a laptop, no matter how small. So, instead, I read.

The train gradually emptied so that about halfway through the journey I had enough room to stretch my legs and had a fairly comfortable trip.

We visited Bath for a weekend in 2005, and, although it was five years ago, after walking a few hundred yards from the station, I recognised everything and, without aid of map or need to ask guidance, I walked straight to the hotel. It helped that we're staying in the same hotel, the wonderful Villa Magdala.

Mirinda had already arrived. The receptionist said she'd only beaten me by about two minutes but after hearing how much transpired between the two, I think it was probably an hour before me.

After a chance for my feet to relax after the stress of a day in shoes and socks, we strolled up to the Abbey then had dinner in Brasserie Gerard, one of which we have in Farnham. We had a lovely dinner then a short stroll then back to the hotel.

Oddly, we are in the exact same room as we were five years ago though, since this area has had their analogue signal switched off, the size of the TV has been reduced. I'm not sure why but we have the smallest flat screen TV I think I've ever seen. Not that it mattered. All I wanted was to sleep and all I did was sleep.