Last Thursday, October 11th October, I was heading from the office, on the train, to Gatwick airport. About 10 miles from the airport - the train stopped, and the driver announced that there had been an incident. All trains in the area were stopped.
This is code for 'there has been a fatality on the line. We need to switch the power off to prevent the poor sods collecting body parts from being electrocuted'. Some poor sod had died, and some more poor sods - our emergency services - had to risk life and limb to seal off the scene, and clear the mess. No-one was moving tonight.
So I sat on the train for a couple of hours in the dark, and hit the internet to see how I could get home. Over time, all flights out of Gatwick, and then all remaining flights out of London filled up. For lots of money, I could get home. So I quietly reserved a hire car and when we got to the airport, confirmed that Easyjet couldn't help. Over 2,000 people descended on the airport at once and caused chaos.
Whilst at the counter, I noted a poor lady next to me, desperately trying to get home to her daughter. So despite my disheveled state (I'd not shaved this week), I offered a lift to Edinburgh. Perhaps unwisely, she accepted.
So we headed out through the worst storm this year, 400 miles up the road. And it was horrible. Really horrible. Gridlock during the M25, followed by lots of water, all the way up. My nerves were shredded by the time we made it to Westmorland services on the M6 (around 2/3 of the way to Edinburgh), so we stopped for coffee and hot sarnies. Since she was preparing a presentation the next day, this involved lots of laptop and keynote action, mifi's burning merrily. Thats when we found out that Westmoreland kept their very nice and clean restaurant tables open overnight, and some had handy power sockets. Lifesavers. (No, really, they are the best services in the UK by far)
We got to Edinburgh around 3, and after some faffing around, I finally got home in my car around 6am. At around 9am, the river here burst it's banks - some parts were over 15 feet over its normal level, and two of the roads flooded.
Thank god I got home before the worst of the storm.
Sometimes, this 1,000 mile a week commute can be a real inconvenience. But it wasn't fatal, unlike some poor sod. So sometimes it's good to keep a little perspective.