Sunday, 12 July 2015

Weekly Rundown: Planning a Road Trip

I've had a busy sort of week this week. Way back in January when I went to Wales, I tentatively made plans to go back in August. But then that all went up in the air with all the IVF stuff so I was never really sure whether I would be able to make it (plus my holiday hours at work were getting slightly stretched).

Well, since it didn't work I've got my August back again. The current plan is to wait for the never-ending period to, y'know, end; wait for the next one to show up, at which point I can get in touch with the hospital; then we'll have about a six week waiting period before we can start the frozen embryo transfer. I need something to occupy my time in the interim and a trip to Wales seems to fit the bill quite nicely.

I discussed dates with my Mum on Tuesday and spent a chunk of Wednesday looking at different transport options. At first it seemed like flying down was the cheapest option, apart from the fact I would have to get some form of photographic ID and take an extra day off work.

Then it was the train. I'd initially dismissed it based on the fact that a return ticket Glasgow to Cardiff was £170! I'm not sure what made me do it, I think I was half wondering if I could travel as a mix of bus and train, but I looked at where the change was (Crewe) and checked out tickets from Glasgow to Crewe. Suddenly a single was £11! And from Crewe to Cardiff it was only £19; a far cry from the £150.50 for a single ticket from Glasgow to Cardiff. Getting my tickets like that could reduce the bill from £170 down to around £70 (plus a little extra for booking fees).

In the end it was a moot point though, the bus was even cheaper. And I've done it before. Almost a year ago, in fact, when I travelled down to Gloucester for my cousin's wedding. On that occasion I spent a day travelling down and came back up overnight. This time around I'll be travelling down overnight and coming back over the course of a day.

There's only one change to worry about in both directions, and although those changes take place at different stations, they're both familiar to me. Plus it's with National Express who have a helpful app to tell you where you are in your route, if there are any delays and when you can expect to arrive. Oh, and as I learned when we got heavily delayed on the way into Birmingham last year, if your journey is booked with National Express all the way through then they make sure you get to your destination. Even if delays on one coach mean you miss your connecting one.

Next time I will look into flying though. I will get my passport updated and will save myself some travelling time. All the same, I quite like long road journeys. I like having time to read, listen to music, knit, or just be alone with my thoughts. I used to spend hours and hours alone as a teenager but now I'm a grown up I don't get to do that so much, so I'm quite looking forward to having all that time on the road (whilst still having my phone for contact with the outside world, and people around me should I need them).

Other than planning long road trips, I've been knitting loads. I lost my knitting mojo for a while but Zebedee Zebra brought it back and I'm now working on a Jean Greenhowe Christmas Crib. Thus far I've just cast on for my second Wise Man; I finished the first one yesterday. As usually happens with Jean's patterns, the main body knitted up dead quick, but giving him his character is taking a little while (not least because I managed to add in about an extra six rows of stockinette to his robe – meaning I've worked about 312 more stitches than was necessary! Oops!) But I love it, so I don't mind. I'm aiming to do two characters a month so I'll have a full Nativity for my front window by Christmas.

I'm also reading a lot more again. I'm getting caught back up on the Reading Challenge (though I still need to get caught up on Goodreads). I've just finished 'a book with antonyms in the title' and chose The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud which I got about two years ago and have kept on shuffling around my bookcase ever since. It started out well but then took me completely by surprise when it veered off into magic realism territory (one of my favourite genres, when it's done well). And I've been informed there's a film of it as well, definitely one I'm going to have to look out for!

Last week I received copies of Misha Gericke's books The Vanished Knight and The Heir's Choice, the first two books in The War of Six Crowns series. I kept visiting her blog and noticing the request for reviewers and kept on thinking I liked the sound of them, so was lucky enough to get some new reading material. Now I'm caught back up on the Reading Challenge I'm dipping into the first of the two, expect to see a review here shortly.

Now I'm obviously having to organise reading material for my trip away. I'm not sure forty-six days is quite enough time to get that all in hand. Plus I need to put the BBC audio production of The Lord of the Rings on my Kindle, I tried doing it last year but managed to blow up my earphones shortly after getting on the bus at Birmingham, couldn't get new ones until Carlisle and by that point had kind of gone off the whole idea of an epic fantasy story.

What're your plans for the rest of the summer?


  1. Hope you have a good time. I don't really have any plans as I'm still healing after breaking my arm last month. I'm just now able to move my arm a little and just this week I was able to get my arm up on the table to be able to type with two hands again.

    1. Thank you. :-)

      Glad to hear you're healing up. Hope you're all better soon.

  2. Busy, busy, busy. I like road trips, but only in a car. Not a fan of a bus. But that's just me. For the rest of the summer, I'm working on a couple dates at a local farmer's market selling my wares.

    1. I'd love to get involved in craft fairs, but I worry that if I spent all my time knitting for that it would stop being a hobby and start being too much like a job, so not so much fun any more.

      Personally I prefer car trips, though I don't drive so someone else has to drive me. The main difference in going by bus over car is I can't sing along (badly) to my music on the journey. ;-)

  3. Weird ticket prices really annoy me. I went to Dundee for a meeting once with two other people and we had all paid different train fares. I got the cheapest by buying a return from Glasgow to Perth and a return from Perth to Dundee. Half the price! It always pays to check.
    Anabel's Travel Blog

    1. It especially annoyed me because I was on one of those websites where it was supposed to give you the cheapest prices, but clearly didn't. I just can't get my head around how they can inflate the prices so much. Booking a train ticket should be simple, you shouldn't need to be Sherlock Holmes to get a good deal.


Let me know what you think. :-)