December 23rd, 2001


A day in transit

Yesterday (Saturday the 22nd) was largely spent in transit homewards to Kent. Usually this doesn't bother me, as I'm not aiming for a particular time, but for once I actually had to bee there on time. Dad was arranging tickets for LOTR (he emailed me and said "Will you have seen LOTR, or should I include you in the Saturday trip". I said "That's not an either/or question.") at 6:00pm, and despite landing at 3:00, it was still going to be close arriving in Rochester in time, especially as I was arriving at Luton airport (pretty much on the opposite side of London).

So you can imagine my dismay when I arrived in plenty of time at the airport for my 13:50 takeoff, and the plane didn't even arrive until 13:45. They got us all boarded by 5 past tho, and the flight south was smooth enough that we landed a mere five minutes late.

I then scrambled through various trains (I've never flown to Luton deliberately before, so I had no experience with the joy that is it's rail service) and finally hit Victoria (from whence most trains to Chatham depart). At which point I laconically scanned the announcement board for my train (knowing I had about 15 minutes in hand) to discover, to my rather intense worry, that it was 'awaiting inbound train'. I checked for other trains, but this one was the only one that would get me there in time for the film (and having missed the first few minutes the first time, I was determined to get there punctually this time. Fortunately, with 2 minutes to go, the train pulled in, everyone on board swarmed past us, we all clambered on in search of a seat to ourselves. South East Rail, an area I would have thought would be swarming with cash, has some of the oldest rolling stock about, and I ended up with one of those carriages from the Harry Potter movie, which has the carriages subdivided into compartments. I had followed my usual instincts and wandered down to almost the end of the platform, so I got a compartment all to myself, where I read my current book (Northern Lights, of which more later) until the train pulled into Chatham (interrupted only by a phone call from Mike as I passed Rochester, wondering where I was).

We then scooted into Rochester's windy one-way system in search of the UGC and happily made it to the cinema just in time for one last advert before the trailers began (sadly, none of them for Goldmember, as I'd been looking forward to dancing midgets).

LOTR was better the second time, as I failed to think about the mechanics of the production hardly at all, and was instead just swept along by the wonders of the story and the gorgeous scenery of Middle Earth. The only thing I could have done with was a calendar and a map, as I kept wondering when various events happened (when, for instance, did the Uruk-Hai leave Isengard in search of the Fellowship, and how did this tie in with the times of travel of the others?).

I then went home, and spent the evening discussing the events of the book/film with my family, Dad showing his thorough knowledge of the book and highlighting several sections I'd forgotten about. A re-read may be in order, although I'm nervous about spoiling my enjoyment of the next two films. I'm torn between waiting to read them, and devouring them over the next few months....

It's now the next day, the first part of the family has arrived for Christmas (making us 12 so far) and a sumptuous repast is being prepared as we speak. I'm off to eat until I feel ill.....
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