Edinburgh — Peterborough – Cambridge — Peterborough — Edinburgh
We boarded the train with two backpacks, my butterfly bag and George Bailey-Penguin, our travel mascot.
I like train travel, and have come to accept the sometimes not-so-faint whiff of piss as part of the journey.
This time, I ignored it by reading Three To Get Deadly and eating chocolate-covered popcorn.
One hundred and fifty pages and an empty bag later, we arrived in Peterborough to catch the train to Cambridge. The only thing possibly worthy of note is the fact that there was a wheelbarrow in the accessible toilet.
After one more, much shorter train journey, we met the wonderful Emily from Emily Drinking Tea and her equally wonderful husband and went off in the direction of their local pub where I broke my self-imposed no cider rule and had some lovely ice-cream.
On the way to their house afterwards, I lost count of the number of cyclists whizzing past, and we met a hedgehog not going nearly as fast. It was all very quaint.
Now, our friends have a very lovely, but very narrow house. After we squeezed the chair in the front door, I found myself with an actual gin and lemonade in my hand. It must have been a strong one, because I fell asleep watching The Thick of It, only waking up to actually drag ass up the stairs and check out their incongruously large bathroom.
The next morning, there was really strong coffee and Emily’s homemade bagels.
We took the scenic route into town along the river, and met Sarge’s friends for what turned out to be lunch, before getting lost in a bookshop.
Sarge and I came out with a pretty good combined haul and I may have taken some photos of the sky. I do that when I’m happy.
We had really good Indian take-away and Emily’s homemade raspberry strudel, and I discovered my new favourite drink when elderflower cordial was added to another gin and lemonade. I might have pretended I was Anne Shirley for a moment.
We stayed up until one o’clock and I really did fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
The next morning, we finished off the bagels and watched Mr Cat enthralled with an iPad.
Too soon, it was up a taxi ramp and time for a backwards goodbye. Our train snacks didn’t taste as good this time. But I did start and finish The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop.
Sarge and I arrived in Edinburgh and scrambled our stuff.
‘Where’s your butterfly bag?’ asked Sarge.
‘Stuffed in your bag.’
‘No, it isn’t.’
‘I thought you had it.’
‘Well, I thought you had it.’
Luckily I’d given Sarge my phone, which is probably why I forgot my bag. After something akin to the scene where they realise Kevin is Home Alone, I texted Emily and asked her to have a look around, hoping it was safely upstairs. It was. And now it’s in the post.
I arrived home feeling lighter. Maybe it was the lovely trip. Maybe because I was bagless. Maybe both.