Tuesday, 17 May 2011
No sense of direction
I'm also a ditherer. I take too long to make simple decisions. If I wasn't like this I wouldn't have needed to go to London yesterday. I had planned to renew my passport on my trip here and could have done it through the Post Office check and send system, but there was conflicting information on the Passport website. I should have phoned them at the time, sorted it out. But I didn't, and thought I would do it when I returned home to Turkey. But I'm not happy about sending my passport off to Dusseldorf along with credit card details and various documents...now the only way to renew a British passport in Turkey. So I phoned the passport office in London last week. By then of course I was too late to use the check and send option, also too late to use the "fast track" option, so had to make an appointment for the premier one-day service for yesterday.
So off I went yesterday....bus from my brother's house to the train station. Train to Paddington. Underground to Victoria. The Passport Office was simply the easiest possible place to find. And suddenly I felt quite confident...maybe I could manage this exercise without getting lost after all.
I handed in my form, my new photos and my fee and then had 4 hours to kill before I could collect my new passport. I stayed in Victoria for an hour or so. I worked there many years ago. I had a flat in Earls Court and commuted on the underground every day. Those were the days when I had absolutely no fear of getting lost or making decisions....ah the confidence of youth!
I then ventured a little further by tube to Kensington High Street...a favourite in my younger days when I spent many a Saturday browsing that wonderful store Biba...anyone remember that?
Back to collect my passport and then off to the underground to make my journey home. This was all going so well. I stood on the underground platform for 15 minutes whilst it became more and more crowded and no trains. Then a district line train to Ealing appeared, accompanied by an announcement that due to signal failure there would be no westbound trains until further notice so passengers were requested to leave the platform and make alternative arrangements for their journey. Some did this but others, including me, squashed on to the Ealing train. I thought I would attempt to get to Ealing Broadway and then pick up the main line train there. However, when someone told me it would take 40 minutes to Ealing Broadway, the thought of being packed in like sardines for this amount of time filled me with horror.
What happened next is something I can't really explain. It was as if I was taken over by some invisible being making snap decisions for me! I jumped off the train at South Kensington and came out of the station. I walked up to a policeman and asked him which direction was Paddington and how far was it? He pointed across a busy main road to his right and said it was too far to walk but to cross the road and look for a No 414 bus which, although didn't go to Paddington, headed in that general direction. Just then I spotted a No 414 at the bus stop on the opposite side of the road, and surprisingly the road was no longer busy and I was able to cross over quickly and board the bus. The bus driver said I should get out at Edgware Road and he would tell me when we got there.
This may all sound very straightforward to most of you, but I've never caught a bus in London, and I've never been to Edgware Road. OK I know from the underground map that it's the next station to Paddington, but there's nothing familiar to me above ground. I sat patiently on the bus waiting for the driver to tell me when to get off. I suddenly had the urge to approach him and ask again where he would drop me. Just as well as he had forgotten about me, but by coincidence we were in Edgware Road..in fact at the top of Praed Street which I recall is in Paddngton. So he let me off and it was just a 5 minute walk to the station.
I arrived with just minutes to spare and boarded my train. When I arrived, I came out of the station, crossed the road to my bus stop just as my bus was pulling up.
Everything about my day ran smoothly, the timing in particular. I'd almost think I had a guardian angel watching over me, except I don't really believe in them. Just coincidence that everything fell into place at the right time? Or maybe I have more confidence than I give myself credit for?
Well I have just 5 days left before I return home on Sunday. Mr A and I have in fact decided that we will rent my friend Gwen's apartment this summer. You may recall that it's Gwen who is looking after Beki and Poppy in Selçuk while I'm in England and Mr A is working in Kusadasi. Mr A is fed up with having to stay in the dingy hotel and I am dreading another long lonely summer in the village. So we've taken up Gwen's offer. She has family visiting her at the beginning of June but we can move in after they leave on the 16th. She then returns to England on the 28th and is back again during August. She wondered if we would mind her being there for a couple of weeks whilst we were there, but of course we don't. She's a friend...a good one!
I have friends in Selçuk and also nearby Kusadasi and I haven't seen them since we moved to the village two years ago. I'm very much looking forward to having a social life again...and to seeing more of Mr A. We see so little of each other these days, it would be easy to forget that we're actually married.
So that's this year sorted out!