I had the pleasure in attending The Children and Young People’s Conference in Edinburgh on the 26th January 2013. http://www.onlinevents.co.uk/
It was a heart warming experience when I arrived.
Prior to that I had a horrendous journey – it included me having to dig my car out…as I live on the Pennines, when we get snow it is often deep and treacherous.
I had, in anticipation left my car on the nearest main road, as this is a public bus route, then gritters and the people that drive the vehicles, do their utmost to keep the roads clear. As the snow fell and was driven through, my car at the side of the road gathered approximately 12”- 14″ of snow around it.
So, I dug the car out – defrosted it (although I needed to stop again 500 metres up the road as it froze again) The route across t’tops was diverted. The road there was often single track, always breathtakingly beautiful and hazardous without ice and snow.
Onwards to Preston Train station. The journey was ok…no problems. I knew, as I had checked on line before I left, that the train was delayed 35 minutes. This caused me no concern, I had planned to arrive more than 2 hours before my presentation was due.
As I walked from the parking area to the train station the weather was cold and wet. Underfoot there was the fall of yesterday’s snow, wet and slushy, mushy as the day warmed the snowy pavements.
My first stop at the station was to collect my ticket from the automated till, juggling my handbag, cotton eco-friendly bag and umbrella and after the second attempt I had my tickets in hand. On looking at the departures board my train was now expected to be an hour late. I decided which coffee shop would gain my business, as I looked forward to warming my hands on a cardboard cup of skinny latte. After making a decision and purchasing a coffee, I sat on a lonely seat, wiping the previous traveller’s crumbs and trail of their baguette off the table. I once more studied the departures board. The very delayed 7.30am train (it was now 2 hours and 10 minutes later) to Edinburgh was due to leave in 7 minutes.
I dashed to the ticket office to see if my ticket was valid for the earlier train, which in it’s tardiness had not left – yet. I waited (impatiently) for other travellers to speak to the man behind the counter – how odd those holes are that allows the air from the passenger side to behind the counter – where all information is held, I thought.
Yes, by good fortune, rather than an informed choice my pre purchased tickets could be used for that very delayed train. 2 minutes to go.
What platform? In my rush I had not noted the platform number – was it 3 or possibly 6? I dashed as quickly I could, as my poorly back and hand luggage, still balancing my coffee, would allow. There was no one to ask. In the attempt to get trains in and out when they were impossibly delayed had meant that trains were often on different platforms. I went up stairs to get to platform 6 …I went back to platform 3 I wanted to cry in frustration. Frustration with my own body that could not move quicker due to my back injury and my not knowing which track.
I realised that the train had gone, left, departed. I felt sad and alone in that moment.
I went outside to give myself a separation from the bustle of travellers. I sat down in the shelter and texted a colleague who had travelled from Manchester, an hour earlier than my train was (originally) due to depart. My phone rang. She too, had experienced problems. The snow had deviously hidden a raised kerb and she had a puncture as she drove to her station. Her husband donned his white, shining armour and rescued her from the situation, taking her to Manchester in another car. Now, snug and warm on her train she was whizzing up to Edinburgh, with another colleague.
Her words calmed me and I realised that my own train, the train I had booked would be leaving in another 45 minutes. When my call was ended the young man who sat at the other end of the shelter, picked up an earring from the floor in front of me. ‘Is this yours?’ He asked.
On feeling my earlobes I recognised I had no earrings in…both had come out-during which struggle I had no idea. In the snow, as I left where I lived? In the car, as I stretched across to get bags and umbrella? I resigned my self to the possibility that the other twin could have departed anywhere in this station. Since I had arrived 90 minutes ago, I had covered quite a bit of it. It could be anywhere.
Accepting this, I was sad again, the earrings although not expensive, I had bought as a memento in Greece last year. I dropped the lone earring into my handbag. I bought another coffee. I sat on the seating on the platform. This Edinburgh train, (now 75 minutes later than anticipated) was not going to leave without me.
Within twenty minutes I was sitting, had arranged my goods and bags around me, and was on the high speed train to Edinburgh.
My journey from then on was non eventful I am pleased to say. The train arrived, albeit delayed again by a further 10 minutes, as there was another train that had beaten us to the platform. I got a taxi. I arrived at the venue.
I found the organisers and they said due to the inclement weather the conference was running ten minutes late. I had a coffee, found my colleagues, spoke to others. I was on in twenty minutes.
I enjoyed my short stay. I found the venue inviting, the organisers prepared and welcoming. The audience seemed to be attentive.
I travelled home. It was only as I journeyed home (only ten minutes delay) on my return journey, that I recognised I had never, ever, during the out going travels considered not going. It was not totally uneventful journey home – my car refused to move through the snow when I was just 3 metres from my home. I abandoned it. Locked it up and let myself in to my home. It was 11.15pm.
I had struggled with snow, seeping over my knee high boots to dig my car out. I even tried (unsuccessfully) to gain access to an earlier, delayed train. I had lost my holiday earrings. I had been delayed and I only had 20 minutes to compose myself and talk to the audience in the Edinburgh training and Conference Venue whilst being live streamed on the internet. Not once did I think, even dream, not to attend.
I am now considering the ‘what’ – what drove me (not my Volvo) to be so focussed, so determined to attend, to fulfil my ‘obligation’, keep my word, however I choose to label ‘it’….to not consider turning around and saying ‘this is too hard for me’.
I recognise this is just one example of my tenacity. I know that I prefer to keep my ‘promises’.
How do I function – am I concentrating so hard on the expected outcome, all choices fade from my awareness?
It is an interesting consideration. I shall consider it some more.
I found my other earring – it was in my car. The twins were reunited.