It was all part of the plan. A few days in Newbury and then back to Zulu, who has been on the 7 day moorings at Hawkesbury Junction for 6 days now.
With two boats we now play the car-boat-boat-car shuffle. No car and one boat is the most simple variation, but we are doing the more complicated version of two cars and two boats. Except today I thought we should take the train instead.
Newbury to Coventry – £34.00 single.
But lets do the train fare shuffle.
Newbury to Banbury – £22.10
Banbury to Coventry – £7.90
Total Newbury to Coventry with two tickets, same train – £30.00 saving £4.00
Now lets use my Network Rail Card which gives 30% off off peak fares for only £20.00 per year.
Newbury to Banbury – with 30% off – £14.60
Banbury to Coventry – £7.90 (no railcard discount)
Total Newbury to Coventry with two tickets,same train – £22.50 saving £11.50
Unfortunatley part of the journey – Oxford to Coventry was with Cross Country Trains – formerly operated by Virgin, and a common sight when boating on the Oxford canal as the sleek modern trains zoom past the boats at a rapid rate. What you cant see from a boat is the inhumane conditions passengers are expected to tolerate inside these trains. Today we had nine people and two dogs, a pushchair and two of the biggest suitcases known to mankind, not in the carriage or even on the train itself – this was in the vestibule area before even getting into the carriage which had obviously been completely full before arriving at Oxford. So we had to stand and sweat and put up with stupid people who obviously thought that the nine of us were too stupid to look in the carriage ahead, dragging their bags over the dogs and squeezing past the suitcases in the doorway only to find that the carriage ahead was also crammed full, and also was first class, and then they had to come back past the cases, and the people, and over the dogs before doing similar to our alter-egos in the next vestibule, while their counterparts made their way from the back to the front of the train. God how I hate Cross Country trains. Why cant they add more carriages – it would not be amazingly complicated to provide a service compatible with the demand by doubling the number of carriages. Or maybe they should stop selling discounted advance tickets for a tenner for a ten hour journey.
So we got tipped out of the opening door onto Coventry Station platform, took the bus to Longford, which I now know to be pronounced Long … Ford, and walked the fifteen minutes up to the boat, stopping for lunch at the Greyhound and savouring yet another gorgeously poured pint of Mild.
The weather forecast today was for cooler weather than of late, with rain moving in from the west. Excellent – it won’t do that then! In fact it was somewhere between boiling and unbelievably hot with not a cloud and certainly no rain, as we set off for Rugby and tonight, many hours after leaving the train we are just outside Hillmorton.