Whether you have a car or whether you depend on public transport, travelling from Bude to London is quite an enterprise. Yesterday however the job had to be done: attending the Indian Embassy, handing over passports, looking serious and trustworthy, paying a lot of money, and hoping that eventually permits will be stamped in our documents.
Claire took the journey with me. Claire, my dear friend and my agent. We took off early by car (hers of course) to Exeter and parked the vehicle in front of the train station. The train arrived in time and all was good. Until we had to transfer trains at Clapham Junction… When we arrived at platform 4, there was a lot of commotion going on. Platform was crowded with travellers, but no trains. The signs were singing: delayed delayed delayed… The stations guard told us spectators that ‘a person was walking on the tracks’… Therefore all the trains were delayed. Well, how long did we have to wait? The guard shook regrettable his head, no one knew.
Still, my appointment at the embassy was booked at three o’clock pm. We had only an hour left to get there. And we were not that far off any more. Hence we left the station and looked around for a taxi. Which we found. But Oh! Travelling by car in London! On an Friday afternoon! We were crawling from traffic light to traffic light and the clock was ticking…
Finally two mins before three we arrived at the embassy. We rushed out of the taxi, I threw the money at the driver and we hurried in. Signed in. Took the stairs. Signed in again, received a number. Seated down in this big hall cramped with whole families, couples, singles. All just like us waiting for their number to be called.
Apparently the staff didn’t like crying babies. Families with crying babies were immediately called forward. Next time I will take a baby with me. At last, after an hour or so it was my turn. I handed over my documents to Rouble, a friendly lady. Friendly but professional. And no, I didn’t have to tell her that I had been married to an Englishman called Steve, and no, she didn’t want to see two years of electricity bills to prove that I really live in Bude. She was looking at my pics though, and she wanted to see my credit card. She kept my passport. Promised that I will get it back. In six to eight working days. Which will be pretty tight…
About an hour later the same procedure started all over again for Kate’s visa, and then the job was done. We were free. And starving.
So we took a bus from the embassy to Heathrow. Had sandwiches at Costa. Then took the bus to Woking. Then waited for our delayed train to Exeter. Had to stand in the aisle in a chockfull train. And then the car was waiting at the parking and we sailed happily into the night, to our beloved Bude. A bit after midnight Claire delivered me at home.