Brrrr. I cradle my small cup of coffee and look through the glass doors, through the window and out into the white. Its really white. I knew it would be. It was hard to clamber out of bed knowing what would be waiting. My eclectic combination of clothing which was hastily sought on departing my bed must be replaced with something a little sturdier, and I have to go out there. The TV buzzes in the background; “Make only those journeys which are completely necessary”
I walk outside, shovelling my way towards the car, which is buried up to the door handles, and begin digging the foot of snow off the driveway, before heading back inside, finding The Lady and heading off for breakfast.
Traction is minimal on the roads. The Christmas feeling must have already taken hold for the plough drivers, as only the main roads are ploughed, and even those prove sketchy. As we watch, an over confident Subaru driver careens down the road before catching a ridge of snow and circling wildly across the street. A Mustang struggles with grip – a straight line turns into a constant series of fishtails. Although entertaining, I have the constant thought of that necessary journey I am about to make.
We eat breakfast in the warmth of the walnut cafe and contemplate why there is so much snow in Boulder. There really is no way to use it here – save perhaps for the half mile of Nordic skiing possible at the park. Why are the mountains struggling when the plains are piled under heaps of white fluffy stuff?!
We get back in the car and head off. Emerging from the bubble, over the ridge and into the continuous suburbs of Denver, the snow reduces and the roads clear. The 17 inches reported in South Boulder diminishes to a couple at most, and my fears allay. I start believing the report that my flight isn’t, after all, delayed.
The roads are crazy. People distracted by festivities and snow and thoughts of other places.
We’re early – after multiple goodbyes, this one is brief but final. Its easier when its temporary. I enter the mêlée.
I expect the worst, prepare myself for the chaos I know I am drawing towards. I cruise towards the check in desk with my massive bike box and smile at the clerk. No queue. I lug my bike onto the scale and cross my fingers. The clerk smiles, attaches the tag and pulls it onto the conveyor. No charge. She hands me the boarding pass and I notice the seat number is different from the one I allocated online. Great. I hope I’m not squeezed in between two 300 pound Americans. I move on down to security. I’m sure I’ll be stuck in line for hours, but I walk straight through, and the security agent thanks me for removing my shoes and putting my laptop in the tray before he asks me. What’s going on?! I get to the gate in plenty of time and plug my computer into the provided socket. Everything seems so smooth.
Boarding begins. My number is called in the first group and I belatedly realise that I have been upgraded. We board on time, the doors close, I get given wine, snacks. The food arrives – roast beef and roast potatoes. Metal cutlery. I wake up 5 hours later to hear “the captain speaking” and along with the usual spiel about cruising height, he also mentioned that we would be landing early. Ahh British Airways – you will have my custom for good if my return flight is equally as impressive!
Wheeling though the arrivals gate, mental pictures of “Love Actually” are replaced by a calm hubbub and bored looking taxi drivers holding scrawled names on pieces of paper. I see my Brother waiting for me and again everything gets better. My time travelling mind is put at ease as he buys me a coffee and guides me to the bus. The gentle drizzle and movement of the bus lulls me into a doze, but the caffeine and conversation keeps me awake.
We get on the platform at Reading station and all hell breaks loose – Frank and I use team blocking tactics to manoeuvre onto the train. The cumbersome bike box becomes a shield and we secure the last couple of places in the aisle. We build temporary seats out of the piles of luggage and settle in for the 3 hours back to Devon. At each stop we’re entertained by luggage Tetris as people shuffle on and off the overcrowded carriage – most people are happily beleaguered by the Christmas crowding, other people swearing under their breathes as if the people sitting in the aisles are doing so to purposefully block their passage, rather than there being no other room.
As we chug southwest into Somerset the rain starts, and gets heavier as we cross into Devon. We alight at Tiverton in a downpour and jump swiftly in the car. The journey slows once more. The winding roads home are familiar, and finally I cannot hold back my need to sleep. I let my eyes close and play the rest of the drive home in my tired head.