Travel Day, Part 1

Manchester/Bath UK Trip Journal Day 5

Cross Country Train, Moving, Somewhere in the UK

I have chosen the quiet carriage of the train for a reason, so I can gather my thoughts over the next three hours and really delve into what it is I need to read, discuss, and study for this article/these articles (if they divide into two articles, one on Gaskell and one on Austen).  But of course, there are always people on the train who don’t respect the quiet zone, although you tend to see this more in America than in England.  But right now, I’m on a train with a bunch of jerks who just won’t turn their phones off and won’t shut up.  Arg!  Headphones it is.

I kept thinking as I walked around Manchester, “This is the last time I’ll see this.”  I thought this at the Mill, and at Gaskell’s grave, and even at Piccadilly Station.  I don’t know if it’s the last time I’ll see it, but something about this trip feels final to me.  As if I’m closing a chapter on my life and I won’t open it again.  This frightens me for some reason, this feeling of finality.  What is this chapter I’m ending?  Why am I ending it, and why am I feeling this way?  What a bizarre feeling, and I don’t know why.

Will this be the last time I come to England?  I don’t think so.   I hope not. I still need to bring Anthony to Manchester so he can see how wonderful it is.  I still have so much research to do.  But still, there is this sense of finality to it all.  Perhaps it’s a lingering sensation from when I had my anxiety attack a few days ago?

The ticket agent came to collect, and of course, I had the wrong pass prepared for him.  They give you four coupons from the machine, so I just handed all of them to him and let him sort it out.  Adorable, right?  That’s me, the adorable American.

I woke up later than usual this morning, went downstairs for my toast and coffee, and then spent a great deal of time trying to repack my suitcase and bag.  I didn’t buy that much, just those slim volumes of books, but still, I think my bag was bigger than when I left.  I got to Piccadilly Station and ate a delicious lunch: eggs benedict, two perfectly poached eggs on grilled Italian bread, with a delicious hollandaise sauce.  I had a lovely cappuccino, paid 30p to go to the loo, and then bought some munchies for my trip: two double decker bars (my favorite!!), roast chicken and roast beef flavored chips (curious), a sugar-free Irn Bru, and another water.  I ended up getting a paper because the water was free with the paper, and the woman wanted to save me 39p.  Very nice of her.

I love railway stations.  Well, European and British ones, anyway.  American ones just aren’t as nice and welcoming to travelers, in my opinion.  But in England, the stations are big and bright, with lots of shops and lots of places that serve fresh, good food.

I’m curious to see how Bath will compare to Manchester.  I’ve been to Bath before, but never for more than a few hours, and never anywhere other than the Fashion Museum.  This time, I will go there for their Georgian Clothing exhibit, but not to research proper.  I’ve other plans in Bath, as well: to find the house where Austen lived while in Bath, to trace some of the steps of Anne Elliot in Persuasion, to visit the Pump Room and Assembly Rooms as Caroline does in Northanger Abbey, and, of course, my day trip to Chawton, to see Jane Austen’s house.  That should be a bit of a pickle getting there, two trains to Winchester, and then a bus from Winchester to Alton, but still, it’s easier than traveling “directly” from Bath Spa to Alton/Chawton, since that would require four trains, two of which are at stations a mile apart.  No, thank you.  Two trains and a bus it is.


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