Well, what a commotion I caused when I went North to Pontefract for my nephew,John David's wedding to Annaliese! I very nearly didn't go because the extreme cold weather had left me a bit under the weather and I didn't fancy two days' travelling out of three days when it was so cold. I now know, of course, that i was even then suffering from fluid on my lungs! Had I known that, i would certainly not have risked the journeys. I think now that i was lucky not to have heart failure during that long walk from the furthest platgorm to the taxi rank at Reading, for i had to rest several times.
On the outward journey, all went well with the assisted travel at Birmingham New St., but it was a different story at Leeds! There was a mad scramble to get off the train (and avoid being taken on to Scotland) and the porter was late coming for me. Indicating my case, I said 'It's the green one.', but unknown to me he took the wrong green case and duly put it with me on the Pontefract train. This was a long train and all the carriages were packed, with not even any standing room, so that the porter refused to put me on until we got to the very last compartment and there was just one seat left.
When the guard said 'Pontefract' I alighted and he put my luggage on the platform. I said immediately, 'That's not my case', but he said it must be because there was no other luggage left on the train. When he saw that there was no-one to meet me, the guard said,'I'll just have a word with the driver and then I'll run over the bridge and see if your nephew's in the car park.' He wasn't, so the train went off. Only one passenger got off the train where I did and he said 'I'm not going to leave you here on your own. Where do you want to go?' I told him the name of the hotel and he said, We go past there. We'll take you.' Then he sent a text to his wife who was waiting in the car park to come over the bridge and help. He took my luggage and she helped me up and down all the steps to cross the line, and they took me to the Hotel.
Meanwhile, the bride-to-be was trying to meet her two sisters off a plane from Alicante, and she was texting John D. to say that the plane had been diverted to another airport because of fog!
I asked the hotelier to phone John D. to say I was at the hotel. What neither I nor John D. had realised was that there are 4 stations at Pontefract, and all are completely unmanned. When John D. realised this and that I was probably at a different station to the one where he was waiting, he stationed a member of the family at each station - and then called them off when he got the call to say I was at the hotel. So they all came to the hotel (where they had not planned to be that evening) and we all had a meal together before they went back to Wakefield.
So it was not until I went to my room at about 10pm that I was sure that I had the wrong case - a man's case! Fortunately, I had all my pills and the dressings for my ulcers in a separate bag, but I had nothing else! I had arrived at a wedding with my wedding hat in a hatbox but without my wedding outfit, nightwear or toiletries! So I went downstairs and gate-crashed the bride's hen party to break the news. She said to one friend,'You haven't been drinking, so you can drive! There's a 24-hour place just down the road, so we'll go and get Auntie Olive some things.' When they came back, they had black pyjamas covered with white spots, 3 toothbrushes, enough pants and tights for a week, toiletries like a flannel and soap and toothpaste, etc. - everything they thought I might need! But they forgot my hair! Next morning, before going down to breakfast, I laboriously did my hair with one of the toothbrushes!
Back in my room after breakfast, there was a knock on my door. Two of the bride's friends said, 'Quick! We've got a taxi waiting and we've got instructions to take you into Pontefract to Marks and Spencers and buy you a new outfit!' On the way, they told the taxi driver what we were doing and he said, 'You won't get anything in this M & S because it's very small and they don't have much in the way of clothing.' But a phone call had been made with my age and size and the fact that there wasn't much time, so the ladies at M & S were excited at this assignment and were ready waiting for us. There were just two outfits to choose from and one was very stylish but looked horrible on me. So there was only one outfit, which had a fairly low neckline, so a selection of necklaces was produced to choose from! Then while I dressed and the outfit was paid for the other friend chased off to Boots to buy a comb, and we were back in the hotel before you could say 'Jack Robinson'. Talk about a whirlwind!
Both bride and groom were members of the Police Force, doing the same job in adjacent towns, and when they eventually met they discovered that they had each lost their spouse to cancer a few years back and romance blossomed. So, at the wedding, the bride's two sons (in their late teens) escorted her down the aisle and gave her away and the bridegroom's son, James, was his best man and gave the traditional speech. At the wedding feast, I was seated with John D's, two sisters, Diane and Jill, and their families, so it was a good opportunity to get to know them all better than we can normally do at such distance.
At other times - at the evening celebration and disco, and at breakfast - the other people seated at the table with me were mainly policemen and their wives or members of the Gun Club and the conversations reflected this. The bridegroom, John D., is a Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist in shooting, so much of the talk was of competitions at Bisley and the next Commonwealth Games in August in Portugal.
The next day, when it came to my return journey, we had no idea which of the 4 stations I was supposed to depart from, so my great-nephew, James, decided to take me to Sheffield to catch my train there. On the way, he enlightened me as to why I had been regarded as such a special wedding guest, when he said that I was very special to him because I was the only link with his grandfather (my brother) who had died when he was only five years old. So, in spite of all the extra commotion I caused, it was just as well that I did make the effort to go to this wedding! I'm still waiting for the wedding photos to come, because, of course, my own camera went off in my case up to Scotland!
The cases? The one I'd been given by mistake belonged to a young man who apparently worked for a Norwegian firm. Since there was no other address, this firm was phoned and asked to let its owner know where it was and he eventually phoned to say that he would collect it. My case ended up in the Lost property at Edinburgh and I had to pay for its return by courier - after embarrassingly having to identify its contents.