Worst Train Journey Ever? | Travel

Summer 2018 – Newton-le-Willows 🚂 Newcastle

This journey was supposed to involve 2 x trains; Newton-le-Willows to Manchester Piccadilly (25 mins) and Manchester Piccadilly to Newcastle (2.5 hours). It actually took 3 x trains and over 5 hours. Let me explain…

I arrived at my local station to find my train into Manchester was 36 minutes delayed (something about me likes how precise rail network are about these things). “OK” I thought, Airpods in, podcasts on, no big deal. I arrived in Manchester after the delay and managed to get my booked train to Newcastle as I had actually left in plenty of time. Still no drama. It was a very hot day and once I found my seat, I realised my train was hot and as the train pulled out of the station I was searching furiously for a window to open. Cue a train announcement:

🔔🔔 ‘”Hello this is your train manager, the thing is…” (not a good start) “The thing is, is that this is not a direct train to Newcastle as we are going to terminate at York” groan ” because we have no working toilets and 2 out of 3 carriages have got no air conditioning”

Ok great, I thought, I needed a wee before we left, thought I could go on the train, but I guess that’s not happening now. OK, coping strategy……I have downloaded Hidden Figures onto my iPad, I will just watch that and it will distract me from now my INSTANT need to go to the loo. I will be Fiiiiiiinnnneeee 😫. Nope. At the next stop, someone I vaguely know from work gets on, (who is lovely I might add) and I now have to politely chat to him all the way to York. All the time my brain is having a battle with my bladder. Going well so far…

We arrive in York after a 2 hour SLOOWWW train journey, everyone is hot and bothered and busting for the loo. Another train arrived fairly quickly and we pile on. It’s standing room only, but by some minor miracle, I get a seat at a table with a family of 2 small kids and a mum. As I sit down, the mum points at the little boy, who I notice is in the fetal position in the seat beside me, “Just so you know, he’s just been sick on the platform, so you might have to move if it happens again” – then to the little boy “actually, if you do feel sick, just be sick on mummy’s cardigan”  – which he is cradling. OMFG – I am SOO phobic about vomit and so I am now having the quietist of panic attacks on a very packed train. HR 180 bpm.

We finally arrive in Newcastle and after over 5 hours travelling, I haul my suitcase and tired/sweaty self from the station up to my hotel. But as as I try to check in, the hotel initially have no record of my booking 😡. I don’t know how I held it together, but after some perseverance and a slightly gritted teeth style conversation, they found my booking – only to discover, they didn’t have payment from my employer. OMG. I handed my credit card over in silence and when I eventually arrived in my room I think this is fair representation of how I looked and felt:


Have you had a worse journey? I would love to hear.. Follow me on Twitter and let me know…




Best and Worst of 2017

So Christmas is over, hope you had a good one, mine was pretty good as it goes 😄 It’s funny though, as the end of the year approaches, it’s my tendency to get quite reflective and as such, I thought I would put together a Top 3 list of all the things I have loved, but also the big misses of 2017 to me. I mean, who doesn’t love a good list?! Here we go:

Top 3 – Highlights of 2017

  1. Getting to the top of Dodd Wood/Fell in September. I have been on something of a fitness journey this year and when I tried to do a much less strenuous walk in May, I nearly cried as I couldn’t do it. This time around, despite it being really hard, I did manage the walk! Thrilled.
  2. Starting my secondment at work and spending 5 weeks working in London. I am very much a home bird and so to be away so much was an adjustment, especially being in such a busy city, which is definitely not my cup of tea.
  3. I started my weightloss and fitness journey in May this year and to date I have lost 2 ½ stones (35 lbs/15.9 kg). I have struggled to keep a healthy weight most of my adult life, but I love the fact my weight has started to come down.

Top 3 – Telly Finds of 2017

  1. Fleabag – I stumbled upon this BBC series whilst working from home one day and ended up binge watching it in an afternoon. It’s a tragi-comedy featuring Phoebe Waller-Bridge and it was just fab. Strong female comedy, so good that I watched it all for a 2nd time whilst we were away in Harrogate. Highly recommend.
  2. That Day we Sang – It’s no surprise to hear I am a Northern girl and so was in love that anything Victoria Wood created. I was so sad when she passed away in 2016 and so I was beyond chuffed when I discovered this comedy/drama about a Manchester choir, written and directed by the glorious VW.
  3. Little Boy Blue – This ITV drama about the real life shooting of Rhys Jones. It was utterly compelling and brilliantly acted. M and I were hooked from the first 5 minutes. It was made all the more poignant as we both remember this happening and it was only about 15 miles away from where we live.

Top 3 – Rubbish things in 2017

  1. Donald Trump became President of the United States. After almost a year in office, I have yet to see him do a single useful thing. He is crass and uses Twitter like a teenager,  complaining about what people are saying about him on the TV. The least presidential President the USA has ever seen.  What a tool.
  2. Sorry I can’t think of a 2nd and 3rd, No 1 is bad enough.

Top 3 – Gorgeous Restaurants I’ve visited in 2017 

  1. Vigour Kitchen is a place we discovered in 2017 in our local town of St Helens. St Helens itself is quite neglected and so to have a fab new place to eat is brilliant. It’s serves nutritious and gorgeous food with a focus on healthy eating. We can’t get enough.
  2. Armathwaite Hall is where M and I went on Honeymoon and we were lucky enough to visit and stay again this year. They do simply the BEST afternoon teas and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
  3. Ok so this last one is a cheat, as is wasn’t a restaurant, but someone that does outside catering. We visited the Lake District in May to celebrate a family birthday and as part of the celebrations, we organised for an outside caterer to come and do us a meal. The caterer was Laura in the Lakes who also have a cafe in Keswick. The meal Laura made for us was delicious and she also coped brilliantly with my Lactose Intolerance by making me a scrummy lemon and blueberry cake! Yummy

Top 3 – Instagrammers for 2017 

  1. The incomparable Susie Verrill. She makes me smile or laugh or just gasp with delight on daily basis. So funny, so irreverent and all the whilst coping with being a new mum and the also delightful Greg Rutherford.
  2. The unbelievably funny Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka. She has been through some tough times this year, but is honestly one the funniest person to ever Insta Story.
  3. You might be able to spot a theme in this category, but number 3 is another funny woman in Celeste Barber. She is the pioneer for #challengeaccepted in which she copies the narcissistic posts that top social media and Hollywood people post in an hilarious fashion.

I am sure there are a million categories that I could add to this list and maybe I will as I think of them. I’ve had quite a good year overall and I feel quite happy going into 2018.  Someone asked me what my hopes were for the New Year and this is what I came up with:

  • Continue with my weight loss journey and get even more healthy in 2018
  • Kick start my YouTube Channel and start getting creative again
  • Visit Barcelona in September (already booked!!!)
  • Do a Couch to 5k programme
  • Make some landscape changes in the garden
  • Get a dog!!

The most important one of my hopes is the last one. My whole blogging story started in 2009 when I started a blog documenting our beloved Peggy Dog. We lost her in 2013 and 2018 is the year we adopt another furry friend into our home. I can’t wait, although I really will have to, until my secondment at work is over and I am home a little more.

Anyway, this year has been the right side of FAB and may it continue in 2018.

Thanks for all your support in 2017 and see you very soon.

G x

My week in Salford (and lovely things to come)

As you know I have been working away in London for the last 5 weeks trying to get my head around a new computer system in order to train hundreds of Prince’s Trust staff how to use it. Well this week, that training started in earnest when I trained some of our staff alongside the lovely Laura from Dundee. I had the first day jitters initially, but by the second day they settled down and we ended up having a really good couple of days.

I have been doing IT Training for about 15 years on and off, but this is the first time I have ever trained people on a system I didn’t know inside out. But the fact that it seemed to go ok and the feedback was good, has given me so much confident that I feel good about the sessions I am doing solo next week.

Actually, next week sees me going to Leicester for the week and as I have never been I am interested to see what it’s like. I am going on my own, which means 4 x nights in the Ibis Leicester, but I am back on Thursday night so it’s not too bad.

Also, this weekend is our last “free” weekend before the Christmas hoopla kicks in.. namely:

So lots to look forward to and I think that this weekend I might pick up my vlogging camera. I have really neglected my YouTube Channel over the last couple of months due to work things but as Christmas approaches and VLOGMAS tickles my creativity – I think it’s time to start filming.

Happy days!

G x

Garden Winter cleanup

Isn’t it sometimes funny that we put small jobs off for months! For some reason our brains avoid certain things and us cleaning up the garden for Winter has been one of those things. But in just over an hour today, we cleared as many leaves as possible and emptied all the pots ready for next Spring. It felt good to see it clearer once we had finished, but I just wish we were better at doing the small jobs!!

It actually doesn’t look massively different on these photos, but we filled a wheelie bin and about 10 big tubs full of leaves! I am now of course, just waiting for snow!! Finger crossed.

Newton Community Centre 30th Gala Dinner

We have lived in Newton-le-Willows now for 3 and a half years and last night, we have never felt more part of a community. My lovely friend Fiona is the chair of Newton Family & Community Centre and she invited M and I to a Gala Dinner last night, which was the finale to their 30th year celebrations.

This community centre is a special place and in case you didn’t know, just over 2 years ago, it was under threat of closure due to lack of funding. The committee shouted out to the community for help to raise £10,000 to keep their doors open and the community responded in spades or actually in pounds sterling.

The money was raised and the best thing about it, was that since then, the centre has been award £250,000 from Big Lottery which is simply AMAZING and they really are going from strength to strength.  So you can imagine, when Fiona asked if I would bring my camera, I jumped at the chance to capture what was a really special night!

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I danced the night away and even had a catch up with an old school friend. Really a top top night. Thanks and massive congratulations to all involved, we were thrilled to be invited.

G x

Women’s Institute: A bumpy start

I blogged in January, that I have joined the local Women’s Institute. For the most part, it’s been a total joy, with me meeting up once a month with some like minded women who I previously only knew from Twitter or not at all, so all should be good right? Well yes and no.

A couple of weeks before the March meeting, there started to be some rumblings of unhappiness amongst some of the members, with a few things posted on the dreaded Facebook page which left a bitter taste in my mouth. I totally understand people might disagree with certain things, but not sure FB is the place to bring them up. The unhappy members also tried to put in a vote of no confidence against the committee and the President, citing that they “had a second on messenger”. This is (IMHO) simply wrong for many reasons, mainly being that FB is not the centre of the universe!!

The Lancashire Federation tried to intervene, but it didn’t really work and the March meeting itself was a couple of hours of awkward, uncomfortable standoffs, arguments and really nothing I thought the WI would be. It has all culminated in a change of committee and president and some of my lovely friends not attending.

You see in the middle of this, we have gathered a little group of ladies together that have a really good laugh. I even got us all together before the March meeting and we went out for Tea at The Oak Tree and it was fab 🙂 The recent dramas might mean that not everyone is into the WI like they first were and I don’t blame them. However, the meeting in April was so much calmer and whilst the talk wasn’t really my thing, the company was just as much fun.

Onwards and Upwards (hopefully)

G x