Manchester to Southampton

The morning breaks to a gloomy scene. Fog has descended overnight and now lays upon the land like a gauzy mantle, making hard edges seem softer, more ethereal. Sounds are muted and I can hear no birds as if they know that any song they throw out will not carry far. So they remain silent.

Peter is up and about before me. No doubt attending to Charlie’s needs. I should point out that Charlie’s needs are not to be ignored. They amount to clearing his litter tray and feeding him, preferably feeding first. If Charlie decides this is to happen at 5am he will inform you with a pat to the forehead with his paw. Such pats may include a claw if ignored for too long accompanied by a mewling sound that I can only describe as alien in origin. Peter is usually the designated target as he is far more malleable than me and Charlie knows this.

Once I am up Peter is despatched to Greggs for Bacon Baguettes. I have learnt a thing or two from Charlie…I can mewl with the best of them. Once coffee’d and fed we attend to some last minute packing. I really ought to keep a checklist as I constantly worry that I will forget something but as long as I remember the important things we should be ok. Peter leaves to take Charlie to the cattery, our least favourite thing about travelling. Charlie voices his protest and performs his famous rictus cat position as Peter attempts to place him in the cat case for the short trip to Castlecroft Cattery.

The early morning fog has lifted to reveal a glorious sunny day. We book a cab to take us to the train station. We decided to get the train this year as the airfares were really pricey and Peter can get a really good discount on rail tickets through his job. We board the Cross Country Voyager train and take our seats. Piccadilly is chaotic today as most of the Virgin Trains services to London are cancelled due to an incident near Bletchley. Luckily our train is not affected.

We set off on time and enjoy some complimentary food and drink in the 1st class cabin. There is not much choice so would be disappointed if had paid full fare for the tickets. Its a long journey of 4 and half hours. The cabin steward decides it would be a good idea to move our suitcases from the racks where we had placed them in order to accommodate someone else’s bags. They eventually get moved out of the carriage altogether and into the adjacent area near the doors. We spend the rest of the journey panicking the will get lost or taken and so every time we pull into a station Peter gets up to check on them.

We eventually arrive into Southampton Central and grab a cab to take us the short distance to our hotel. The Premier Inn. We chose it for its price and location as it walking distance to the ship from there. It’s nearly 7pm so we head out for some dinner. It’s Mexican street food at Wahaca. Never been before but we are treated to some delicious and tasty dishes. Nachos with Gaucomole and Salsa. Chicken Quesedilla, Pork Tacos and other things I don’t recall the name off. All served by friendly attentive staff. From there we head to the Dancing Man Brewery in the hope of meeting some of our fellow cruisers who were eating & drinking there. Sadly as we were not eating we were unable to join them upstairs and so we enjoy some wine downstairs before heading back to our hotel. Travel has tired us out and so we decide to turn in very much looking forward to boarding Celebrity Eclipse tomorrow.

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Patrick O'Halloran

Cruisers, Bloggers, Cocktail Drinkers.

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