So, it’s last Friday afternoon and I’m on the King’s Road in London just walking and window shopping and enjoying the last of my three day break away. I’ve had a great evening at the RNA Winter do, met up with lovely editors and fellow writers at Aria Publishing, taken son Ben out for dinner and met up with friend Kathy from Geneva. I know I’m due to leave King’s X around 8pm and have arranged to meet friend Chris from Wimbledon at the station for drink and food before catching train back to Yorkshire.
I remember I have a M&S voucher to spend so decide to head for Kensington High Street and jump on a number 49 bus. Now, London buses won’t take cash – you just flash your credit card at them. I know all this because I’ve been travelling on the tube. What I can’t work out is how do they know what to charge you on the bus? It seems to be the same price whether you stay on one stop or spend the day travelling round seeing the sights and/or having a snooze. I’m gazing round, purse in hand, trying to work out what to do with credit card when I get off. Nothing it seems. Decide to get off to look at some interesting shops. They weren’t, so jump on next 49 bus and go to flash credit card. Except I can’t as purse has gone.
What do you do when you’re in the middle of London with no money and no credit cards? Two hours, 4 and a half miles and 32000 Fitbit steps later I arrive at Kings X. Chris is waiting for me and we attempt to explain to young man in Left Luggage why I no longer have the ticket to get out my case left there earlier in the day.
“Can you describe the case?”
‘Yes, bright purple with an American Express logo and – very helpful – the metal handle has been sawn off (don’t ask!) leaving two metal sticky out bits on which to rip your fingers and ladder your tights”
The young man duly searches out said case. “Can you tell me what’s in it?”
“White nightie wrapped around Babyliss hair drier”
“Tell me the name of all your make up?’
“HourGlass, Charlotte Tilbury…”
“Name of toothpaste?”
“It’s wrapped in a shower cap and is Sensydne Total White”
It was bit like playing that game at a party when you have to remember what’s on a tray before it’s whisked away.
I’d obviously passed my A Level in Left Luggage and told young man I’d be back to pick it up in two hours once we’d eaten.
Half a bottle of red wine and several phone calls to police to report stolen purse later and
we return to pick up case from Left Luggage with fifteen minutes to go before train leaves.
To same young man: “Hi, me again, can I pick up case now? Friend here will pay for it seeing as I have no purse.”
“Can I see your ID?”
“We’ve been through all this. You’ve seen my toothpaste and nightie.. You know it’s my case.”
“Sorry, need some ID.”
“A letter in my bag?”
“No, it has to be your driving licence…”
“It was in my purse. It’s been stolen.”
“Sorry, it’s policy.’
“So why didn’t you tell me this two jours ago when you were rifling through my make up and nightie?”
He points to a notice on the counter. “It’s here in black and white. No ID, no case release”
Various expletives on my part. Ten minutes until train goes. “Just give me my case, don’t be ridiculous.”
Folded arms on his part.
“I’m getting it”
“No, you’re not” He takes case away and puts it in the back.
“So what do you suggest?”
“It stays here at £12 per day until you come back with ID”
I ring husband who is not at home. He zooms the five minute journey home, rushes up to safe to find my passport and sends picture of it to my phone.
Case released and I run for train while friend pays £12 plus £15 lost ticket surcharge to this young man who “is just following procedure.”
All cards stopped, new driving licence applied for as I try to think what else was in wallet.
Monday morning I ring London Transport. “I don’t suppose you’ve had a brown Ted Baker wallet handed in from Number 49 bus last Friday?”
“Yes, love, you’re in luck, it’s here.”
How amazing is that? My wallet with all its credit and debit cards all intact and handed in. My faith in human nature totally and utterly restored.