Our train leaves Chester at 10:22 so we can get up at the usual time without any rush. Toting our bags this time, we follow the usual road to the station. We had hoped to catch sight of the heron beside the canal but he is not there.
Ironically, the man at Caféxpress asks if we are on holiday as he has seen us several times. He stamps our loyalty card for the last time and I put it away in case we ever come back this way.
The Cardiff train that takes us to Shrewsbury is on time. Even more surprisingly, they have put out the reserves and our reserved seats are waiting for us. So far, so good.
It is another splendid sunny day, but with a haze veiling distant views and a powder blue sky. The journey to Shrewsbury was without incident and we arrived with 48 minutes to wait for our Wrexham & Shropshire service to Marylebone.
When the train arrived we installed ourselves comfortably in window seats and prepared to enjoy the ride. We are travelling first class on this leg and intend to derive maximum pleasure from it.
The sun is now high in the sky, playing hide and seek between big white clouds whose shadows sail across the landscape. The countryside is lush green but here and there are golden patches where the corn is beginning to ripen.
Some of the larger clouds have dusky undersides and in the hazy air, the sunlight shining through gaps makes rays as in a romantic painting.
In addition to free coffee, on this train ride we are served a two-course complimentary lunch and quite pleasant it was too.
As we make our rather sedate progress towards London with only occasional stops, it is easy to drift into a contented, almost dream-like, state, watching the countryside slide by, interrupted by towns, factories or tunnels. Yet, curiously, though I have a pernicious tendency to doze off on buses and trains, I stay lucidly awake on this journey, despite the good lunch, bolstered by a paid-for dessert!
In places the clouds are so dense that the sunlight is blocked and we pass through an overcast world. Then, suddenly, we emerge into a region of more scattered cloud and are bathed again in sunlight, now tinged with afternoon gold.
Without pausing, we pass empty little wayside stations, the fences of whose deserted platforms seem only with difficulty to hold back the press of invading greenery.
Lost somewhere in the middle of England, I have no idea where we are. It is a strangely pleasant feeling.
At last we are back in known territory and the stations that flash by have familiar names. We pass a red tube train and soon there is an announcement that we shall shortly be arriving at Marylebone.
We step out into the London air as into an oven. It is so hot that we walk slowly to the bus stop. We board a 205 bus which departs so precipitously that I am sent flying and crash into another passenger.
As we drive through the streets, London seems to be experiencing a heat wave. At our home stop we disembark and walk, still slowly, to our door.