Having rested from our return journey, we set out for Liverpool Station. The plan was to have breakfast there and then, while I set off on the train to Chingford to fetch Freya, Tigger would return home to unpack and set things in order. In the event, things were not so simple.
On arrival at Liverpool Street, I noticed that the departure boards were all blank. Uh-oh. Further investigation revealed that rail works were interfering with travel from the station. In particular, there was no train for Chingford. We were advised to take the Underground to Walthamstow Central and take the train from there.
Being of a practical nature, Tigger suggested we have breakfast, work out our plan and telephone the cattery. We repaired to Ponti’s cafe on the upper deck. I rather like the cafe there and enjoyed my breakfast, despite concerns about how to pick up Freya.
I duly phoned the cattery and explained that I was likely to arrive later than expected because of the rail works. They had an alternative suggestion: if I took the Central Line to Buckhurst Hill, they could meet me there with Freya. That was the plan we adopted.
Tigger and I bade one another our tender farewells and went our separate ways, Tigger towards the buses, I down into the depths of the Tube system. The journey proceeded well and I amused myself using the stopwatch function of my new watch to time the intervals between stations.
I was feeling in buoyant mood when I collected Freya and returned to the platform to begin the homeward journey. Though we were taking a different route from the usual one, I felt Freya could cope with it as she was now used to the bus and the train. I hadn’t reckoned with the differences between the surface train and the Underground train which, hardly noticed by us, made a big difference to Freya.
The first thing I noticed was the tendency of tube trains to rock from side to side. Poor Freya was being thrown back and forth in her cage. I turned her so that the length of her body was across the carriage as I thought this was easier for her to bear. The next thing was the tunnel.
At Buckhurst Hill, the train is above ground and it stays above ground for several stops. Freya was not happy but was beginning to settle down just as we entered the tunnel. The sudden darkness and, more importantly, the sudden increase in noise, gave her a fright. She started twisting and turning in her cage so violently that I was afraid she would hurt herself. I talked to her and tickled her ears through the wire and gradually she calmed but was very nervous for the rest of that trip.
When we got out at Liverpool Street Station, Freya seemed to get a grip on her nerves and become much calmer. I think she recognized the place and knew we had been through here many times before. We walked to the bus stop and had to wait a long time for a bus. It was the 214 that came and I sat on the sideways seats behind the driver, putting the cage in the luggage well between them. Apart from the occasional miaow, the rest of the journey passed calmly enough.
Once indoors, Freya emerged from the cage cautiously. She knew where she was because her sense of smell would have told her and was soon running around miaowing and “Eck-eck-eck”ing like a good ‘un.
After the requisite cuddles and rollings and runnings-around, we had to see to the next job of the day: the trip to the launderette. It was probably a good thing to leave Freya alone for a while to calm down and settle in.
I have already described our launderette sessions so won’t do so again except to say that as it was Sunday afternoon, there were few people and we had easy access to machines.
After our labours, though it was only 5 o’clock, we felt we deserved a reward, so we went into the Pizza Express opposite the British Library and shared a couple of their finest vegetarian pizzas. Was this a late lunch or an early supper? Either or both. We often have just two meals on Saturday and Sunday.
When we went indoors, Freya was waiting impatiently for our return and began her celebrations and demonstrations of affection all over again.
We are all together again and life resumes its usual pattern. Well, until our next expedition…