If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed that my weekend has been fairly eventful to say the least. I went home on Friday for the weekend as I had tickets to see Jessie J on Saturday. The whole weekend was lovely as I got to see my family again, but there were a few little snags along the way. To be honest, it’s a miracle when there isn’t any.
On Friday I took my suitcase with me to lecture because I was going straight to the station once class finished. The second hour was a bit of a pain though as our usual lecturer was temporarily replaced by one of my least favourite members of the department. I can’t concentrate on him and just took notes from the PowerPoint, rather than all the other stuff he mentioned. The uni bus to town was heaving, but I made it to the station with plenty of time to go and get a Costa mocha and brownie (my little treat). I asked if I could reserve a seat for my train back while at the station because I had been unable to online, but alas the train remained a free-for-all. For once my train to York ran rather smoothly, we had a lovely ticket inspector and the large hen party stayed in the carriage behind me. I took advantage of this comfort (remarkable for Transpennie) and had my picnic (including homemade boulders and banana bread) whilst reading.
The drama, however, began when I arrived at York. I had been slightly worried because I only had thirteen minutes to make my connection, and given how unreliable my trains usually are, there was a possibility of a platform dash. I checked the board on the platform to see where my connection would be pulling in (the Liverpool train actually made it in on time!) and was told that there would be an additional fifteen minute delay due to signalling issues at Doncaster. As far as I was concerned, that meant that I could nip to the loo (rather than the train alternative) and wait on the platform. Yet the longer I stood waiting, the more the train was delayed. The train was meant to arrive at 15.48 and the board eventually stayed on being delayed until 16.34 before simply saying ‘delayed’. In other words, ‘I’ll turn up when I feel like it’. The major frustration though was that two other trains which were delayed for the same reason, arrived within thirty minutes of their intended time, one of which was originally due after mine! The board eventually said that it would be due in at 16.42, nearly an hour later than intended, and that it would only be calling at Newcastle. Then five minutes before it was due it suddenly moved to another platform, meaning we all had to traipse over the bridge. When we arrived, yet another train going to Newcastle had managed to get in before mine and it hadn’t been effected by the delay! We were all slightly narked by this, but got on board the train (it did eventually arrive around 16.40), to be told that it would take roughly fifty minutes to get to Newcastle.
But that wasn’t the end of the fiasco. When I got onboard, it wasn’t obvious which coach was which, and after inquiring in two carriages, it appeared that the carriage my seat was reserved in, didn’t actually exist. Thankfully, due to the cancellation of stopping in Darlington and Durham, there were plenty of seats to sit in. By this point my phone had nearly died, but that wasn’t an issue because I’d updated my family and it was meant to be plain sailing from there. And it would have been as well, if not for the ‘trespasser’ on a bridge in Chester-le-Street. We suddenly stopped in the middle of the countryside, to be notified that we would be delayed further (the conductor made a lovely little joke about how well we were doing to stay on time) because no body was allowed anywhere near the area due to the nature of the situation. Looking back, it was a bit amusing because it got people talking in the carriage, although we were all thoroughly ticked off. After about twenty minutes we started moving and when we went past Durham (which was jam-packed) we thought we were home sailing. Until we stopped about five minutes later to be told that due to a traffic accident on the A1, the police had been delayed to the bridge and were stilling trying to deal with the incident. In the end, the train ended up being an hour and forty-five minutes delayed. I wasn’t in the best of moods, but I’m getting full compensation for the journey and my dad was picking me up to go visit my aunt.
Aside from that minor irritation, I had a wonderful evening with my family. There was lots of laughter, exchanges of gossip and family goings-on and a fair bit of food. It was definitely what I needed to cheer me up after the day I’d had. When I got home around midnight, my mum and stepdad were pulling up from the birthday party they’d been to. They showed me the transformation that is currently underway in my bedroom – my stepdad has turned my storage cupboard into a proper set of stairs to get into the loft (making it easier to get to everything and I get to use it as storage). This does mean that everything that was in the cupboard was in my bedroom, leaving me to sleep in the spare bedroom which is tiny. We had a bit of an issue with the cat in the attic, but after twenty minutes, lots of scratches and the cat carrier, we had him downstairs again.
After a breakfast of bacon and fried egg sandwich (or ‘wear me sandwich’), my mum and I went to visit my grandparents, who celebrated their sixty-first wedding anniversary the day before. It felt like ages since I last saw them and we spent a fair bit of time there chatting. From there, Mum and I went to New Look because it never feels like a trip home without a peek in the store. I bought a couple of things in the sale for uni, including a rather snazzy crop top for nights out. We went to Sainsbury’s to get presents for my stepniece’s third birthday. She was already getting a Disney Princess kitchen from Mum and my stepdad, so I bought her some items to accessorise the kitchen as well as her Christmas present because they had the toys reduced. By the time we eventually got back in the house, I only had time to clear a path to my wardrobe, get out the clothes I wanted to take back to Liverpool and jump in the bath before I was back out on the metro to town.
I met my friend at the Gate and we went for food at Frankie and Benny’s. We hadn’t spoken properly since my birthday weekend, so it was a great catch up and the food was really nice. It’s our usual food place when we have a catch up as we are yet to have a bad meal there. From the meal, we walked over to the Metro Radio Arena as I had invited her to accompany me to see Jessie J. I got the tickets for free from my cousin who won them at work and we were dead close to the stage, but had the comfort of not being in the standing area. The support acts were decent enough. After queuing in possibly the longest que (it has very nearly the length of the venue), we arrived during the DJ act, which got the crowds spirits up. There were a couple of long pauses between acts and the DJ came back on between Lawson and Jessie J. I was a bit disappointed with Lawson as they didn’t sound as good as I expected.
Jessie J, on the other hand, was epic! I could happily have had even more of her performance instead of Lawson. She seems such a genuine, honest and modest person. The whole tour was themed around living life to the best that you can, focusing on positivity rather than the little niggles that happen along the way. What I thought was really clever was that she used little videos to fill her costume changes connecting with the songs that would follow in that ‘act’ as it were and they portrayed this overall message in some way. The final video was all about being Awake, showing/accepting Love, using Instinct, having Values and being full of Energy … in other words ALIVE! I found that really clever and actually a brilliant message to give, especially when you consider how much of a role model she is. I’m certainly proud to be a Heartbeat. There wasn’t a bad moment in the whole of her performance, the energy was fantastic and everyone in the audience was loving the show. I loved the fact that she kept telling the crowd at the front of the stage that she couldn’t see them, because they were too busy trying to film/photo her. It proved a point that technology these days has taken over slightly and I’m pleased I only took occasional photos because I found I focused more on the show and enjoyed it a lot more. Jessie also made a point of saying that she wasn’t perfect after spilling her water on the stage due to her dancing then sang ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ which is one of my favourite songs from her debut album. Alive, her second album, follows along this motivational side and it’s definitely going to be a heavy feature in my workout playlist. She is proof that you can be happy outside the mould of society so ‘just be true to who you are’!
I had another ‘trespasser’ moment when I was trying to get home. But I eventually got back and after watching Strictly with Mum, it was a leisurely nights sleep while the clocks went back an hour. We had a light breakfast on Sunday as my stepdad was cooking my favourite home-time meal – roast chicken with all the trimmings. We spent the morning at Tynemouth market and while there was plenty of things that caught my eye, I resisted the temptation as I’ll be going to two Christmas markets and a Vintage Fair within the next two months. Mum and I spent the afternoon while my stepdad was cooking lunch putting my stepniece’s kitchen together. We didn’t find the instructions until we’d put it together because they were in with the stickers. We had a right giggle whilst doing it and my lunch was superb. Alongside the chicken, we had homegrown peas, cabbage and carrots, as well as cauliflower (ours weren’t quite ready), bubble and squeak, roast potatoes and finally the piece de resistance – my stepdad’s sausagemeat stuffing. It was well worth sacrificing my usual Sunday morning fry-up.
I managed to see my stepfamily before I caught my trains back to Liverpool which was fantastic. I can’t believe how much my stepniece has grown up! Aunt Del was perfectly happy to play chef before Mum drove me to the station. We had been a little concerned about going in to town as it was Darby day, but thankfully the match was in Sunderland, so I didn’t meet any football fans (an unusual miracle for me) and the trains back to Liverpool were a lot less eventful. My train to York was a bit late coming in, but due to several delays (I’m guessing from the start of the storm) my Liverpool train was also slightly delayed. I found a seat near the rack and shoved my case in. Given that it was an unreserved train, you’d have thought people would have the manners to leave seats for others, especially given how busy it was, but the couple who sat near me still tried to use an extra seat each for their luggage. Some people just have no common sense or decency. I was back in my scouse house not long after eight and was unpacked and reading in bed by ten, ready to start again with uni.
It was a wonderful weekend home, and although I’m not going back until Christmas, my mum is planning to come down at the start of December and I’m going to be pretty busy with assignments. In fact, that’s what I’m going to crack on with now, seeing as I didn’t really do much over the weekend. It’s these little indulgences that get me through the busy, at times tedious, uni moments!