I can’t believe that I’ve been in the UK for twenty days already! This trip is flying by. Day Twenty was an early one, getting up at 5:15 so that I could get ready and have things packed up in time to head down to breakfast at 8:15. After tea, toast, fruit, cereal, and another lovely chat with the couple from San Francisco, I headed back to my room and took my time lugging PJ down the stairs. I checked out, said goodbye to Susan (if anyone is visiting Inverness and looking for a place to stay, I highly recommend the Ness Guest House) and hopped in my taxi to the station…just as the rain started.
As my train was going from Inverness all the way down to London Kings Cross and it was a Sunday, it was rather crowded and I’m very glad that I decided to reserve a seat. Most of the seats had reservation slips, although they weren’t all filled in Inverness. For those unfamiliar with train travel in the UK, as I was before this trip, reservation slips specify from which and to which station a seat is reserved for. I believe that it’s alright to sit in a reserved seat as long as you vacate it by the station from which it’s reserved. For example, my seat was reserved from Inverness to Perth (where I changed trains) and again from Newcastle to London.
So, I think we left on time, but the weather made it slow going as we climbed out of Inverness (there was quite a bit of wheel slip, which means lots of lurching movements) and we were late getting into the following stations. With only a thirteen minute connection in Perth, coming in eight minutes late and having to journey three platforms over was a bit of a sprint; I didn’t even bother with the lift and just lugged PJ up the stairs (she must weigh close to 70 lbs by now). Luckily for all of the people making the connection, our connecting train from Aberdeen was a few minutes late as well. But shortly, we were all aboard and making our way to Glasgow Queen Street station.
I’m staying in Paisley, which is just outside of Glasgow and while it has a station, as I mentioned in my previous post, after those two trains, I’d have to catch a bus connection to Glasgow Central and then take another train to Paisley Gilmour Street. So, I just decided to take a taxi, especially since it was still raining. My taxi driver was great; very friendly and had me laughing for much of the trip, although, being from California and not having conversed with many – if any – Glaswegians before, I did miss the odd word or sentence. But, he got me to my hotel in what was probably less than twenty minutes and it totally beat that bus and third train.
I checked in right at 2 pm and the very friendly couple who welcomed me in seemed quite delighted with PJ. I should probably explain why, but include the warning that if you didn’t think I was weird before, you almost definitely will now. PJ is my 24″ spinner suitcase…and she’s adorned in purple paisley, a pattern that gets its name from the town of Paisley and the textile industry that used to thrive here and made the pattern so popular. I call her (yes, I think of my suitcase as a “her”) PJ but her name is actually Phyllis, Jr. The 28″ inch matching spinner that I bought before her is named Phyllis, hence why she’s Phyllis, Jr. My hosts commented “So, you brought your paisley to Paisley!” and then told me that the largest collection of Paisley textiles is housed in the museum down the street.
After a bit of a rest, I wandered out in search of some dinner, which was actually a bigger challenge than I thought on a Sunday night. I actually did have to wander around to find something that was open. I finally did, ate dinner, and then headed back to the hotel where, luckily, there is a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner all the other days of the week. The hotel is very nice – a house dating from the late 1700s – but since I opted to stick to the train this trip, I won’t be able to see all that I wanted to while I’m based in Paisley. I thought of maybe cutting my stay in Paisley a day short and after some quick research on the National Rail app and some very fast booking skills, I decided to go back to Oxford for one night before heading back to London. So, I’ll spend three nights in Paisley instead of four. I was planning on taking the bus to Inveraray Castle tomorrow, but it would be a long day and a very early wake up call, so sadly, I think I’ll pass on it. I’ll probably spend tomorrow wandering around a little bit, maybe visit Paisley Abbey and/or the museum and catch the train into Glasgow to see what there is to see…and to make my train reservations for Oxford. Tomorrow is supposed to be relatively dry, but the day after is forecasted to be full of rain so I think that’ll be a day for relaxing and catching up on sleep before the last push back to Oxford and London.