As you all know, Harry and I have travelled to our daughter's home town by coach, which meant changing for the last lap at Victoria Coach Station.
I was going to take a picture of the inside of the coach station, but thought better of it as I thought I might end up in jail! I read in a paper that someone had got into hot water with the Police recently for taking snaps in a shopping precinct. The reason being that the snapper could be a suspect terrorist or thought to be snapping for terrorist activities. I decided against taking a photo inside the station for that reason.
While waiting for the connecting coach we heard many messages on the loud speakers warning us of pickpockets and drug dealers and the one we thought was funny, but realized it shouldn't be, was the warning that any luggage that was left unattended would be collected by the Police to be destroyed. In other words, blown up!
There were lots of ladies travelling on their own. Some of them had been visiting grandchildren as we had been and these ladies often got talking and asked us to look after their cases while they went to the toilet, which was down a flight of stairs.
We found ourselves being very vigilant while in that area. Watching our bags and avoiding pick pockets. We thought the coach station was very busy but quite a good way to travel. We also found it was quite cheap as we could go half price, as older folk, provided we didn't travel on Fridays or Saturdays.
However on the way back to Victoria, there was a giant gridlock on the motorway and the whole coach was one hour late and we all missed our connections. Luckily there were several later coaches going to where we live, but some people were not so lucky and didn't know what to do about getting back to their home towns.
Most of the older ladies were like me and didn't want to go on tube trains. Some felt claustrophobic and some couldn't manage escalators as well as their suitcase. In our case, we were afraid we should be hopelessly lost, being completely unfamiliar with the tube trains!
Fortunately for us, we were able to be squashed onto some spare seats on the next coach, but there was no guarantee that this would happen, until it did. Our first trip to our daughter's had gone according to plan with no hiccups. However on the second journey when we missed our connection, we heard of some real horror stories of people left stranded and the fact that the staff were not particularly helpful. One lady had come all the way from the North of England and had missed her connection due to delays and she was told there wouldn't be another one, so she was put back on a return journey to the North where she lived. The next day, she had to try again and was successful that time.
No guarantees with this method of travelling!
Once again, we are about to embark on our third journey from here to Victoria and then on to our daughter's home for the funeral this coming week. We will have one and a half hours after arriving to get our connecting coach. If we miss it that will be that! Only the one coach a day to that particular town.
However, the son of a friend of ours, has given me details of a London bus that goes from Victoria to the correct train station that will go overland to the town near where my daughter lives, avoiding the tube trains altogether. I can put this emergency plan into operation if we miss the connecting coach because of delays on the motorways. Lets hope we don't have to do this, as it is going to be a long day!
Back in one week! Unless we end up stranded in Victoria Coach Station for ever!