A weekend in the countryside

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July 3rd 2011
Published: July 7th 2011
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The rest of the week after the tennis was spent relaxing at home (Worcester Park) with me only popping out to Wimbledon again on the Wednesday for lunch with two amazing friends at The Terrace. The weather was fabulous the whole week, with plenty of sunshine, minus all that ridiculous heat that we experienced over the weekend.
Saturday morning I was once again packed and off to Maidstone, Kent for the weekend for a friend from the ship’s 21st birthday party. It’s funny how a lot of people always say that they should meet up again sometime in the future, and then never do. This trip to the UK has been very good for me, and I have reconnected with a number of people that I know from all over. Seeing the girls for the weekend was eagerly anticipated, and had been discussed at length on board in April, when no one partaking in the discussion actually believing that it would happen.
Took the train from Worcester Park to Victoria station and then had to connect to the Southeastern to West Malling. The only annoying thing about most of my journeys that are planned and that I have so far gone on, whilst on my holiday, involves going through London Victoria station. A station that I am well weary of, as it is huge, has 19 platforms and I always feel like a bit of a clueless tourist desperately searching the boards for my train, hoping with everything that I have in me, that I do not have to make use of the Information Desk and officially announce that I am not a Londoner. The other ache about this station is that there is a platform change to get there, and when I have my hand luggage bag, it is a nightmare to go up and down stairs constantly. Sometimes I think that my luggage has a life of its own as it does not always want to go in the direction I want it to, and occasionally wacks either into my own legs or those of other commuters.
When I had arrived at Victoria, I managed to find my train but ut had not been allocated a platform number as yet. With 17 minutes left I was not fussed and kept my eyes glued to the screens to see for an update. Getting bored, I bought a coffee and sandwich form one of the stalls and went back to the main foyer. With 2 minutes left and no platform assigned I started to panic. Especially when the signs underneath stated that if you do not have an assigned platform number yet, you should stay in the general concourse area of the train. HUH? I did not even know what that meant and was damned if I was going to ask. It might just blow my cover. So I waited, and luckily the train had been delayed by a few minutes and eventually got assigned a platform. I got onto the train very chuffed with myself for accomplishing to what may seem to others as being a somewhat minuscule, mundane task. Mandy 2 – London Victoria 0. (after the Cardiff victory).
The train ride to the countryside (Kent) was about an hour long and really beautiful. Not as picturesque as Wales, but close enough for me to appreciate it.) I met up with Bubbles at the West Malling station, then Hannah had been collected from a station a lot further away as she had managed to get the wrong train, followed by Pizza and a Pimms for dinner and got ready for the evening that was to be had.
As Bubbles lives in the countryside, we went out to Maidstone for the evening because it is bigger. Maidstone probably has more clubs, pubs than anything else. It was crazy! I'm not going to lie that when I heard I was going to West Malling, a small historically market town, I had envisaged going to a barn dance of some sort, with all the farmers. So not the case may I say.We went to a number of clubs along the way, one being a Ministry of Sound party at Banks which was a great experience, before settling at a club until the wee hours of the morning and then all going out for a burger and chips at 3 in the morning.
Sunday was spent nursing a mild hangover and then in the late afternoon I made my way back to London, falling asleep in the train and taking victory over London Victoria station once again.


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