Apparently a train porter had been attacked and killed, and the entire public transport system came out on strike.
We had a problem.
I mean, a serious series of problems, the biggest of which was our tickets had an expiry date on them.
We HAD to be on the midday ferry from The Hook to Harwich to get our connections to get home.
In an obtuse kind of way, it was funny. Not that someone had died of course, but the general attitude of people ‘stranded’ like us.
Many just sat around in the train station saying they’d wait for the next train.
Wasn’t going to happen guys. This was at least a 24 hour strike.
Hubby and I had an emergency meeting on the pavement outside.
We decided to hire a car and trotted off to a rental company just round the corner.
Just one couple were ahead of us and there was some kind of problem with their charge card.
We were served, processed and on the road (using an alternative credit card) whilst they were still going through the payment process.
Hubby forgot they drove on the right.
We soon cottoned on after experiencing bleeps, blaring horns and shaking fists as we went down the street the wrong way (and on the wrong side).
Out on the autobahn, we were fine, admiring the scenery and watching the clock.
The rental company had told us to deliver the car to their outlet in The Hook, and they would arrange a taxi for us to the docks.
We pulled in to the car lot at 11.30.
It was on the other side of town, and traffic was horrendous. We were told it was because of a public transport strike ( 😉 )
True to their word, they got us a taxi and off we roared. Literally.
Our driver was obviously a stuntman for The Sweeney in a former life as we carved up bicycles, private buses and anything else on wheels that happened to be going in the same direction as us.
We learnt that ‘Shit’ and ‘Bastard’ are the same in Dutch as they are in English.
We learnt that adrenalin is brown.
We discovered how long we could hold our breath.
Our taxi got us to the port with 2 minutes to spare, then realised we were at the wrong gate entrance, did a U turn and pulled into the correct one sideways.
We fell out with our luggage and puffed up the gangplank to board.
We were greeted by a uniformed ferry official who said,
‘No need to rush. We have delayed our departure by one hour to give passengers time to get here because of the strike.’
Terrific. How considerate.
Bloody hell. Talk about piling on the pressure.
We were leaving Holland an hour later than scheduled.
But we didn’t have an hour the other end to spare!!
After a much needed beer (not rushed, shaken or stirred), we collapsed into a couple of comfy chairs and put our feet up.
There was nothing we could do except hope that trains were running late in the UK and we could make our connections OK. We calculated we had about half an hour breathing space.
We dozed for a while, we shopped in the Duty Free on board, we had a meal, we played cards.
We also fretted and worried about time and not having enough cash to get home.
As it happened, we docked around twenty minutes later than we would have done had we left at midday.
We had no delays getting out of Harwich, though we got on and off the wrong train quickly getting to Liverpool Street.
We caught the tube back to Waterloo to hear the announcement that the train for Bournemouth was due to leave in five minutes.
Typically, it was at the other end of the station, on the very last platform.
We ran like the wind.
It was a miracle the duty free bubbly didn’t pop its corks and give us extra propulsion.
We threw our holdalls into the train carriage, I fell in after them holding the duty free bags aloft, and Hubby dived on top of me just as the doors closed, missing his foot by inches.
We were in.
We were on our way home.
There was nowhere to sit.
We walked the full length of five carriages before finding a seat, stepping over luggage, briefcases, coats, shopping bags and other junk lying in the aisles that passengers couldn’t be bothered to stow over their heads or lift out of our way.
It felt like we walked half the way home.
The train pulled into Bournemouth at 10.45 pm.
Hubby rang his Dad, who had promised beforehand to pick us up from the station and was happy to come and collect us.
We were shattered.
Our duty free was intact, no breakages, loss, or damage.
I told Hubby there and then that I’d never go on Honeymoon with him again.
It was too exhausting!
There were repercussions from having a quiet wedding though.
Mother in law complained that we hadn’t given her a big enough piece of cake to share with her friends.
My Mum having kept our secret had pleasure telling my sister that she’d been to our wedding as she handed her a piece of cake for the family. Sister was upset because her two daughters would be disappointed at not being bridesmaids as she’d promised.
When I got back to work, they wouldn’t let me into the building, saying they had nobody of that name on the payroll (my supervisor’s memo referred).
We went back to Amsterdam in 1993, but this time we flew (first time in an aeroplane) !