John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 1 September 2013

[Saturday 31 August 2013]

08:40 Manchester Airport—11:40 Cleethorpes

Day 244 Sunday 1 September Ezekiel 18-19

I had waking periods, of discomfort… and pain (the right hand hurt intrusively). I felt a bit unwell and quite miserable on waking up proper, i.e. after the alarm call came at 5.45pm; I wanted to be back home now.…
 We went for breakfast. The young woman who greeted us and showed us to a table was bright and cheerful, and her Lancashire accent made me feel almost at home (i.e. my childhood and youth home). Janet didn’t have anything apart from a pint of Pepsi Diet. I had Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, because there weren’t any Rice Krispies (I could have had the sweetened, chocolate-flavoured variant Coco Pops, I suppose); then bacon, sausages and baked beans; then coffee.
 We’d booked a taxi for 8.00am, and were almost ready to leave the room when a call came ca.7.55am to say the taxi was here. It was a minibus, in fact, obviously providing an airport shuttle service for several of the local hotels, for it had their logos on the side, including Premier Inn’s. The driver asked us “Which terminal?” and we told him it was the railway station we wanted. He charged us £6, a figure I seem to remember from a previous stay at the same Premier Inn.
 We went to the ticket kiosk and waited our turn while a young woman was being dealt with, then we saw the Scottish clerk who told us that it was not possible to replace tickets. I was therefore asking for “two singles to Cleethorpes with Senior Railcards”, when he cut me short and suggested we go to see the Station Manager down on the platform who could perhaps have a word with the conductor of the train on which we were travelling. He seemed not in any hurry to get rid of us, despite the fairly long queue that was building up behind us.
 We took his advice, went down in the lift, found the Station Manager’s office a little beyond the buffet, on the first platform we came to, and explained the situation to him, that I’d lost my wallet with the ticket in it in Palma, Mallorca. In fact, the conductor of the 08:40 Manchester Airport–Sheffield train was also in the office. The former applied his rubber stamp to both pages of the confirmation-of-booking letter that we produced, and the latter wrote his endorsement, “Lost tickets. Please convey to Cleethorpes… C. McDonald, Conductor…” For we were to travel not only on his train, but also on another one from Sheffield. Janet gave Mr. McDonald a grateful hug, as she has the tendency to do nowadays, before we left the office.…
 We waited in the aforementioned buffet, then went to board the two-coach train. The luggage rack was full, but there was space under the table in the space assigned to wheelchair users. Unlike the other tables, this one was supported at the wall and didn’t have a leg: ideal for luggage stowage. The seats were folding ones. Fortunately, no wheelchair users got on. A pair of cyclists did, and suspended their bikes on the carrier on the wall opposite ours. Another cyclist got on — at Manchester Piccadilly, I think — so his bike nearly blocked the gangway. When the conductor came by checking tickets and realised who we were, he asked to have a word with me in private. He took me into the “concertina” between the two coaches, and expressed his concern that we might not have any money to buy ourselves something to eat before we got home. He produced a bank coin-bag from his waistcoat pocket which had a couple of folded banknotes in it, but I assured him that we were OK; I said “God bless you!” and thanked him.… The train seemed to speed through the Pennines, yet it was three or so minutes late arriving at Sheffield — not welcome because there were only seven minutes scheduled to change trains. The Cleethorpes train was only a little farther along the same platform, though, so we did have time to get aboard.
 Again, the luggage rack was full, but we put our cases in front of it, and didn’t block the aisle excessively. We sat apart till Doncaster, from where we were able to sit together. Got out the “little feller” and the in-ear phones, and listened to Day 227’s Bible reading (to 10:44); also did Day 228’s (to 11:06, but I’ll have to redo it because I kept nodding off to sleep.… We got off at Grimsby Town station because of the ease of getting taxis from there.… Much of the station forecourt was cordoned off for replacement of the sidewalk paving, and the taxis were now situated round the corner to the right in Bethlehem Street, from where got a minicab home.
 There was a pile of delivered stuff behind the door: a week’s newspapers, because although Janet had been to the shop to cancel them they’d been delivered; several flyers from pizza or kebab take-away and home-delivery establishments; a plastic bag from a cancer charity for bric-à-brac donations; and several pieces of valid mail — one of which was from Newmarket Holidays re the forthcoming Wales trip. Another was the endorsement for my travel insurance for the next cruise.…
 Started up the “little feller” to copy the remaining 44 photos from the camera (13:47–13:49)… Sent a message to First TransPennine Express, commending C. McDonald for his “extraordinary kindness”.… Scanned a few documents from our holiday (20:10–20:32) and pasted them in their appropriate places… Janet and I watched two episodes of Dallas. …I didn’t stop up for very long; I scanned a few more items (22:33–22:52), shut down ca.23:03, then went to bed…


[North Wales]


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