A funny thing happened on the way to Scotland, when leaving Newcastle-upon-Tyne……
Patrick and I had a lovely, slow morning, a leisurely brunch at an awesome cafe, then we headed to the Newcastle railway station about 11.40 ish in time for me to catch the 12:43 to Edinburgh, and he to return the hire car and get to work at 3 pm. I had 3 connecting trains, a ferry and a bus to catch to get me to Dunoon/Sandbank ready for my cruise the next day.
On arrival, we soon discovered that a couple of trains North had been delayed due to signal failure up the line. No problems! It will all be fixed soon! This kept happening, and they started to move us to different platforms, but no trains left for the North! Pat & I talked to station staff and they thought I’d have no problems getting away…Late but still going, so Pat went off to get ready for work, etc. The trains from the South kept arriving and disgorging more and more passengers. I was told to go to Platform 3, no Platform 2, no that was Platform 4!!!!! By now, it was 13.30 and there were approximately 1500-2000 passengers waiting to go North! Still the signals were down!! I rang Pat and we discussed the matter….. He rang work and was excused from his shift, he picked me up and we went to Hertz to see if we could extend the car hire for 1 more day! Patrick would drive me up to Scotland!
I rushed into the Hertz office and blurted ” May I extend the car hire for a day? The trains are cancelled, and I need to get to Scotland!!! ”
Sure, the nice man said, but I noticed 2 young business men looking crest fallen. They were hoping to hire my car to drive themselves home to Edinburgh, as their train had of course been cancelled too. I made 1 of those split decisions that I don’t do very often……”We can drop you off in Edinburgh , if you like, if you help with petrol money.” “Great!” they replied.
By the time Patrick walked in, 2 minutes later, I presented him with our new passengers, David, a Scot, and Mark, the Irishman who had been a Scot for 5 years!!!
Whilst Patrick quickly went to pick up some Euros ( he was going to Corfu on Sunday) , David and Mark withdrew £20 each, which they presented to me for Petrol money. (Way Too much but they insisted!) Then started our brief , but enjoyable, friendship!
We spent the next 2.5 hours chatting, laughing, swapping travel stories, and generally enjoying our road trip. They also had some excellent tips and ideas for travelling the Scottish Highlands, which Pat and I appreciated. Such is the Serendipitous experiences of travel!!!
It did take us on a slightly longer track to Dunoon, but we arrived at my pre arranged BnB at 9 pm, having had a lovely trip, great views, dinner @ Greenoch on the way, a ferry ride AND extra time together. Thankfully, I had a twin room booked at the Bnb so there was a bed for Patrick. He got up early the next morning, caught the first ferry, and having returned the car, arrived at work for his 11 am start, on time!!
Thanks to Patrick, I was there, all ready to catch my wee boat!