Thursday, 20 May 2010

Two Grandmothers Plan a Britrail Event

Planning our Day Trips: Luggage

Wyona and I each have a Britrail pass and the will to get on the train and see parts of England, Scotland and Wales for 16 consecutive days of first class train travel.

I thought the passes would come with a travel itinerary and maps. Nothing arrived in the envelope but a pair of train tickets.

Wyona has been printing maps from the web to get a handle on where we should go and what we should do. As well, my sleuthing lead me to Daunt, the most charming of book store on Marylebone High Street where I picked up LaVerne Ferguson-Kosinski’s Britain by Britrail: Touring Britain by Train 20010/2010. That book, coupled with a Lonely Planet edition of Great Britain, should hold enough information for us to get around by train for a couple of weeks.

Wyona’s main in our trip has been getting the environment just right for travelling. In an airport she purchased a carry-on case already having in mind that we would need more than we can carry in the purses slung over our shoulders for the day The case she bought had to be flexible, stand on its own (no falling over when it is propped alone), a top loader, easily unzippered, and have smooth running wheels.

There is an added bonus for us with what she purchased. The case will be quickly identified by us, never stolen because of its garish two-inch turquoise, red, navy and white polk-a dots design on a black background.

“At least there will be no problem finding this on the luggage rack,” I heard her say. 

As well, Wyona customized the travelling case this morning with a pair of scissors.

“Useless,” she said of the zippered pockets, around which Velcro strips with D-rings were fashioned for extra protection. “I have cut off the Velcro and torn out the zippers. Now we can get in and out of the front pockets with ease.”

I tucked a sweater into the bag, my camera case and some books to complete our practise-run on loading the carry-on. Would it carry everything Wyona thought it should: a couple of water bottles, some umbrellas, 2 travel books, our tickets, a few sandwiches and a camera case?

Wyona is in now in the intermediate planning stage of making the luggage useful, salvaging the Velcro closures which she moved from the pockets and attaching them to the handle so that we can attach other bags we might think are useful. 

I cautioned her. “We have to be careful with this packing. Either we have to pare back on what we are taking,” I said, "or we will have to go get a lesson from some of the bag people we see on the streets as to how they can attached multiple bags, in fact their whole life’s material goods, to just one cart.” 

She agreed.

The travel books may be among the first things that get left behind. Wyona brought books back from Gatwick this morning when putting the girls on the plane. Charise’s hand luggage was 5 kilograms overweight. 

Among the treasures that didn’t go back to Canada were a beautiful note book with a magnetic closure that Charise bought at the Wallace Museum and Doral Pilling’s life history which Charise brought over from Canada and has been reading. Those two volumes are waiting for empty space in the next person’s suitcase.

I have been reading the two travel books and so has Wyona. Two cautions are making sense to me. One is that England is a more expensive place for travelling than Europe. The second piece of advice is to be sure to take twice the amount of money and half the number of clothes. There was nothing in the books about making major changaes to the travel luggage.

That doesn't mean that we won't be enjoying our designer luggage.


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