Well what a day we've had today! Plan A, was to leave the hotel at 9.45 to travel to St. Erth Railway Station to put everyone on the 10.48 train into St. Ives, returning on the 3.00 train before driving a slightly different route back to the hotel, to arrive at about 4.30. Should have been easy!
Four of our lovely people opted out of coming with us today. So at 9.45 we were on the coach outside the hotel with Joan telling me we were still waiting on 2 more people. I went for a quick scoot around the hotel, couldn't find anyone, so got back on the coach. Joan was telling me how she had counted 4 times now and there are only 41 people on the coach. Well Joan, if 4 aren't coming, we only want 41! I can't even count to 41 so I couldn't criticise! So now nearly 10 minutes late, we set off for the train station.
We arrived with 8 minutes before the train left for St. Ives. I had to unload the wheelchairs, go and pay cash for 43 tickets and direct everyone to the correct platform for the train. I was just handing over the cash and none of our passengers had come through yet, when the train pulled into the station. I shouted across that we had 3 minutes before the train left, people were disappearing to the toilet and there was still no sign of the wheelchairs. Joan came through and I handed her the tickets and asked her to try to hold the train for our wheelchairs to arrive while I went to help them. It was absolute chaos! I got the last wheelchair onto the train and gave Joan the nod that I couldn't see anyone else around the station, so off they went while I dealt with the coach.
I chatted up the station master and asked if I was ok to park the coach in the station while I caught the next train to St. Ives. No problem. So I had a quick coffee before locking up and making my way back to the platform when I saw the train come in. I had just stepped out of the ticket office when I heard a voice call my name. I turned around to see 2 of our gentlemen sat on a bench at the end of the platform. It appears that they had disappeared to the toilet and the train had left without them and in all the mayhem, we hadn't noticed that they hadn't got on the train! But never mind, they were safe and they were coming with me. So we arrived in St. Ives and walked down the platform and towards the path to town when the one gent, mr stick, started panicking because he had left his bag on the train! The train was still there so I ran back, asked the driver to wait while I retrieved the bag, which had to be on the furthest carriage, and returned it to its owner. I was going to walk them both into town to show them the way but the one had disappeared and the other needed the toilet again and so was going in the restaurant and insisted I didn't wait for him. So feeling a little nervous about leaving him because he isn't particularly mobile or switched on, I went off to meet Joan for coffee.
After that I had a walk around with my camera, had another Cornish pasty and headed back to the station. I spent about half an hour sat on the rocks watching the tide come in before I made my way to the platform where there were already some of our passengers and Joan. I was treated to a delicious mint choc chip ice cream shake.
The decision was made that I would catch the train before the one we had planned and anyone who was there who wanted to, could come with me. Only a handful did, the rest arrived half an hour later having caught the train they were told to. So I arrived back at the coach to find a parking ticket stuck to the screen from a private company, after I had been given permission. Not happy! That one will be appealed!
So half an hour later everyone started getting on the coach after catching the correct train. Joan did a head count. We were 1 missing! Mr know all, who never stops talking and misses the information he is being given because he just won't shut up! He had been seen at the station but not on the train. The only contact number he had given us was a landline. It had been suggested that he had maybe fallen asleep on the train and not got off. Mr know all was the gent who had missed the train this morning with mr stick! All we could do was wait for the train to return back again and hope he was on it.
I was back on the platform when the train rolled in and to my relief, there he was! I helped him off the train and asked what had happened to him and he proceeded to tell me what a wonderful day he had had. I said he should have been on the previous train and he straight away started to argue with me that Joan had said 3.30 and he'd written it down and he was right! 'I'm sorry that you had misheard but everyone else had heard 3.00 and have all been sat on the coach waiting for you for the last half an hour. But all that matters is that you are safe and you are now with us.' Silence. We walked across to the coach, no apologies to anyone and off we went.
We drove back through the pretty little town of Hayle and through the centre of Redruth. We arrived back at the hotel at 5. Mr know all made sure he was last off the coach and spoke to Joan and I, saying that he had written down the correct time and that he'd got it wrong and was very apologetic. He then went into the hotel, tripped over the mat and went splat on the floor with a very loud thud. I rushed over, the only thing he'd hurt was his pride and so we helped him up and off he went.
I parked the coach and decided on a glass of wine before getting ready for dinner. I went into the bar and joined 3 of our passengers in the hope I would have a drink bought for me. It worked! So a quick drink, shower, then dinner. Joan and I moved through to the bar as soon as we'd finished eating and we managed a whole hour before anyone found us. We just sat chatting about anything other than work. It had just been one of those days! Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Goodnight x