The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

To Warminster And Beyond

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SO! The story continues – and it ain’t pretty!! Our day of leaving London started off easy enough. We got out of bed okay and were actually glad to be leaving. We’d seen what we wanted and were anxious to head out to Warminster to see a cousin, Wendy and her husband, Terry.

The night before after a lovely fish and chip supper at the pub across the street, we did a little research in our room as to where the BritRail ticket window was at Victoria Station. We soon discovered that BritRail didn’t go to Warminster out of Victoria Station but only out of Paddington or Waterloo Stations. Another dilemma and decisions to make – whether to take a taxi or another local train to Waterloo, which was the station that would give us a direct trip. We very quickly ruled out the local train. We had decided we were tired of lugging luggage up and down train platforms, on and off train steps, etc. We did some further research and discovered the taxi price was below 10:00 Pds and would be so much more convenient.

So that morning we hailed a taxi and arrived at Waterloo Station within 15 minutes. Upon arrival we discovered that BritRail was now known as “SouthWest” so away we went to get out ticket stamped. As I was at the ticket wicket the man behind the glass wicket was speaking into his little microphone and I didn’t really hear everything he said. Understanding that we had a pass for any 3 days of the month we were away, I nodded when he asked if I understood that our tickets were for 3 days. Once completed we headed over to the right platform and caught our train. As we were sitting in our seats I was putting the tickets away and suddenly realized the ticket read “BritRail Consecutive Pass”. The date stamps started on September 27th and ended on September 29th. Was it wrong, were we wrong? We grabbed the conductor and asked for his confirmation. Yes, We were wrong – the pass was for three consecutive days, meaning we would only be able to stay with Wendy and Terry for 2 nights instead of our planned 4 or 5 nights. The conductor said we could straighten things out at Salisbury Station. We were somewhat relieved.

After arriving at Salisbury on a 20 minute train change, we practically ran to the ticket master. As our luck was running so well, it only stood to reason that we would get an older gentleman who looked like he was getting ready to retire. Naturally, too, he couldn’t answer our concerns about getting the “end” date changed so he asked his Manager. Again, with luck on side, the Manager advised that there was nothing he could do once the ticket had been stamped. You really don’t want to know what our reaction was!!!! The Station Master did, however, suggest that we keep all of our further train ticket receipts and we would have to take it up with our travel agent at home, as it was obvious we were sent the wrong Pass. Why not, the travel agent had already screwed up my name on our plane tickets which I had to have changed because of the name of my Passport! This story hasn’t quite ended.

You can only guess, too, that the train ride on to Warminster wasn’t a happy one! The only thing that cheered us up was seeing Wendy’s happy smile as she was standing at the platform waiting for us to arrive. We hugged immediately upon seeing each other and she asked how our trip was. “Well”, we said, “have we got a story to tell you.” We soon relaxed after enjoying a proper fish and chip take-away.

Bless their hearts, once we arrived at their place, they were more than anxious to get out problem solved. They asked their daughter, Amanda, to check online to see which train we could catch on Saturday up to Newcastle at the cheapest price. She was quite successful and after deciding what time we would be leaving we’d go into the Station in Westbury in the morning and purchase an “advance” ticket which would be less money than getting your tickets on the exact day you’d be leaving. Somehow relief had come over us. We’d leave the mess behind and begin to finally enjoy our visit. We topped off the evening enjoying a proper fish and chip take-away.

Wednesday morning, after getting our train tickets, Wendy and Terry took us to Cheddar, England. We couldn’t get over the quaintness of the Village and had a great walk-about. Nat was even able to buy proper English Cheddar Cheese while I was successful in finding a souvenir for me and a gift for one of my nieces. The weather was perfect, the day was perfect and naturally Terry and Wendy entertained us to the hilt. Our gracious hosts even topped off the day with a fresh trout supper, caught by Terry himself, along with fresh veggies home-grown in Terry’s allotment. We couldn’t have asked for more.

Today we headed down to Sidmouth in Devon to visit a couple of my mother’s relatives – Paul and his sister, Margaret, an Uncle and Aunt to Wendy and cousins to my mother, Ruby. We had a lovely time, including a light lunch of sandwiches at Paul’s and getting acquainted with two relatives I had heard about as a child but had never met, and it was a definite treat. I was taken aback a bit upon seeing Margaret. She hadn’t really changed from the pictures I had seen as a child.

We soon left and headed over to Connaught, a beautiful garden park where anyone (mostly seniors) could go for a beautiful relaxing day at the seaside. We wondered about the gardens, took plenty of photographs of the high cliffs, the people sunbathing on the beaches of the English Channel with the tide out deep below the stoned-wall. Another perfect day and another perfect afternoon. Upon arriving home Wendy and Terry soon fixed us up a another nice light supper of cold ham, boiled potatoes, and salad. We completed the evening with the three of them talking amongst themselves and every now and again watching and waiting for me to finish this blog post so I could read it to them, and then we’re going to top off the evening by watching a video of “Jethro” (a famous British comedian. As I’m an avid loved of all things British I’m signing off now to enjoy the rest of my evening.

Will try and ket back online once arriving in Newcastle and finding a wi-fi cafe. So please be patient. We all know this story will continue – good, bad or indifferent!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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