Last week I was 100-miles-a-day-Dad, on the train. This is a risky choice as it takes 3 trains to get from my place to the kids (who live with their mom in my old place), however a bit of risk is healthy I think. I have made this journey many times over the last year since I moved away, and it has (almost) become routine.
Its funny how you can adapt. One day I’m a Dad, a Husband and live in a comfortable family home. Next thing you know, the marriage has nose dived, I am effectively single and then I am catapulted out of the family home and become isolated from my kids. How did that happen?
Well I do know, obviously, I was there. But the grinding attrition of a failing marriage takes its toll, and I did my finest ostrich impression in the hope it might improve.
It didn’t and I am where I am. But I have a plan to move and be much closer to my kids. This involves dealing with estate agents. Now that is worthy of an entire blog by itself, but there are more interesting matters to deal with. I have found a decent place. Its bigger than my current abode and its a few miles from the kids, so not too local, as I think there are temptations that should be avoided. Most importantly its affordable, as the city its in, is super expensive.
However last week just as I am about to sign on the line for this place, another property, a house appears on the interweb. I have the opportunity to see it, at least from the outside, after I have dropped the kids off for handover to their mom.
Only problem is, I am on foot as I came by train. The house is a few miles from the station, but I reckon I can get there and back and make the penultimate train. This is a good plan as the last train has lousy onward connections and the usual 90 minute journey takes just over 3 hours instead.
I have a rucksack and two shopping bags of stuff with me so must look a right sight as I stomp off to see the house. I know the address and roughly where the road is, but its in the middle of a sprawling housing estate, all windy paths, snickets and subways. I get to the road and cannot find it. No one has house numbers on their houses. I finally make it to the residence and it is average and underwhelming which is expected at the price, but heavily overlooked and miniscule inside. Worth seeing so I know its not an option.
However, google maps is now telling me that my walk back to the train station will take 40 minutes. This is not good as my penultimate train leaves in 29. Do I bust a gut and try and make it, or mosey on and arrive home in the small hours? Computer says no. But my gut is saying its worth a try. Stuff google maps, I can do it!
I am half running, half jogging with my 3 bags. I don’t have a watch and my hands are full with the swimming gear and all the Tupperware from mine and the kids tea. I am counting the seconds under my breath. I am at the posh flats in town, I have five minutes before he train departs. I know my route, I might just do it but I am absolutely steaming and panting like a chuffer in the cold night air. Across the main road and through the park, 3 minutes to go, this is going to be close. I can see the station car park entrance and its a downhill trot. I am at the car par and its one minute to go. I can see the station and platforms and the train is not there. Has it already gone? Has it been cancelled? I am definitely running now. 30 seconds to go and the train arrives. I am half way through the car park.
I get to the station just as the train comes to a halt. I can see the ticket barriers are open so I should just be able to head onto the platform and get my train. I open the doors to the station building and unbelievably I now see that the shutter is coming down blocking the ticket barriers. Noooo!
I chuck the bags through on to the platform and duck down under the descending shutter, grab the bags and leap through the closing train doors which are beeping insistently. I made it!
Panting, out of breath and sweating like a pig but triumphant, I collapse on to the seats and feel the flood of relief knowing that I should get home before midnight. I catch the other two trains no bother and they get me to my home station. I then cycle for about 20 minutes and jump in the shower. Home (at least for now), safe and sound.
So if google maps tells me the expected journey time, I now know that I can trot to my destination in 3/4 of the time stated, but I am also primed and ready to roll under any shutters that decide to drop too! It seems to me that technology is undoubtedly helpful, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut, and taking (modest) risks is a healthy philosophy and gets you home before midnight !