This year, I was looking forward to going to the Tweet-up at St Albans on my way to World Travel Market. The fabulous Andy Jarosz of 501 Places had been hosting a weekend bloggers trip for travel bloggers and then, on the Sunday evening, there was an open invitation for other Tweeters to join the fun.
The Saturday had been hectic with moving house; boxes were everywhere and Sunday was filled with trying to make some sense of the disorder and copywriting & proofreading ready for the next day. Tempus fugit – the time was suddenly half past six in the evening – argh!
Quick call to Andy to explain that I couldn’t make St Albans by 7.30 but would be there as soon as I could. Ah yes, just a quick shower, pack the case and off! Trains every half hour and it takes an hour to St Albans. Aleck, my son, took me to the station for the next train and …. away I didn’t go! They had engineering work happening on the line and buses were taking passengers to the next station (Flitwick) to pick up the trains there – oh joy.
Aleck took me to Flitwick and, as we got there, we watched the train pull out of the station, giving us a half hour until the next one. By the time I did actually get to sit on a train, it was gone 9 o’clock and I wasn’t going anywhere quickly! Sadly I sent a text to Andy to apologise for not being there; I wasn’t exactly a happy bunny as had been looking forward to the event for ages. I got to St Pancras to find I’d left my oyster card at home, which, as it turned out, was a blessing. Went to get a new card and the nice man at the ticket office asked where I was going. When I said I needed to get to Custom House, he then told me I couldn’t go the usual way because, guess why?, they were doing engineering works, and proceeded to give me alternative routes! Oh for goodness sake, not again, but I thought it wouldn’t be that bad. Big mistake, I finally checked in at the hotel at gone midnight! What a ‘super’ start to the week!
Since the World Travel Market moved to Excel, and after the first year’s horrendous transport debacle, each year, WTM and Transport For London have told us that the transport will be much improved and stress free – and each year it isn’t! WTM is the biggest event that takes place at Excel and involves people from all over this wonderful world of ours. For some it’s the first time they have been to England. It really saddens me to think that the first impressions are of Heathrow airport, which would never win a beauty contest; but the London train system would beat it hands down for the ‘fail whale’!
Just two years to the Olympics, oh my goodness, it is really frightening.