I want to catch a train to Ipswich from the West Midlands. Get to London. My son takes me to the newly developed Stratford station. It is huge and far from user-friendly.
We are directed to the customer assistance office on Platform 8. Son asks for help for me to find the platform and train and rushes off to work, leaving me in front of the hatch.
Within seconds, a door opens and a man appears, takes my suitcase and cheerfully leads me through the labyrinthine complexities of the station to the shelter on Platform 10. He leaves
A young woman with a walkie talkie arrives and says she was expecting someone with sticks. She is a Bulgarian Philology graduate who enjoys using her language skills for her job at Stratford. Interesting and thoughtful … what a bonus! She waits and helps me onto the train.
Although the help was available and excellent, it was hard to find and a frightening and disorientating experience.
At Ipswich station there is so much confusing signage that I could not find the lift and ended up heaving my case up and down the stairs and across the bridge.
It was all worth it. I had travelled for my cousin’s 80th birthday. Good to see everyone. The marquee was set up in his back garden ahead of time, carefully patrolled by feline security! Great family gathering: old and young, cats and dog.