Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whiskey...

Monday, September 17, 2018
Fort William, Scotland, United Kingdom
It’s a good thing that SOMETHING can come out of all the rain we’ve seen here in Scotland.  I asked a local if it’s always this wet in September.  She said it’s normally lovely weather, but this year has been an exception. 
We spent the day in a holding pattern awaiting the departure of our sleeper train to London.  It was actually a pleasant enough day.  We had a chance, between rain showers, to walk along the waterfront.  We even checked out the West Highlands Museum.  It was free entry...and it was raining...seemed in we went.  I can safely say that I saw one of THE MOST COOLEST things in there that I’ve ever seen in a museum anywhere.  It was called the ‘Secret Picture’.  It looked like a picture of a lot of coloured lines, but when looked at in the reflecting cyclinder...budda bing, budda boom, there’s the painting!  I couldn’t get a good photo of it, and I was that impressed, that I bought the postcard.  The museum curator stumbled upon this item when traveling in the UK and it has become one of the focal points of their exhibition.  
A couple of stops into our new ‘local’ the Volunteer Arms, and the barkeep began recognizing us.  ‘Haven’t you already been in here once today?’, he asked.  I explained that we were awaiting the sleeper train. 
We headed to the train station a bit early because we were told the quite plush looking passenger lounge dedicated to the sleeper train would open at 4pm.  We arrive at 4:30 and wouldn’t ya know, the lounge is closed.  It’s closed at 5, and 6 and 7.  Apparently it’s ALWAYS open before a scheduled train.  Just not the one time that we’re booked on the train.  We don’t let that ruin our fun.  We wait in the regular, read very uncomfortable metal chairs and no free snacks, waiting room until boarding time.  
Now everything I’ve read on the website for this overnight train service talks about the ‘first class service’ and how they want you to enjoy your trip right from arrival at the station and until you exit the train at your destination.  Well, so far they’re not living up to their propaganda...strike 1!
We are finally called to board.  We have a standard class berth.  It’s gonna be small, I know, but when we get to our room it’s beyond’s so small that we can’t get the 2 of us in plus our 2 suitcases.  It’s a bit like trying to squeeze your size 12 body into a size 10 Speedo...just after getting out of the shower.  Takes a lot of pushing, pulling and jumping around to get everything in all the right places.  But, we managed it.  I really wasn’t expecting the Taj Mahal...but we paid good money for this trip and so far it’s feeling more like we’re traveling in ‘steerage’...strike 2!!
After getting situated in our berth, we wandered down to the lounge for a peek.  Nothing there to hold our attention, and the prices are considerably higher than what you’d pay on other trains.  No worries, an early night with some reading and surfing is in order.  And wouldn’t ya know wifi.  The website distinctly said there’d be wifi so people could watch tv, etc on their devices.  Hmmm...more BS...and that would be...strike 3!!!
There’s gonna be a strongly worded email going to the Caledonia Sleeper people when I get home.  Fat lot of good it’ll do as this was really a once in a lifetime trip...and given what we know now, certainly not something we’ll be racing to try again.
Stand back!  Someone’s gonna get an earful!
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Fran Meehan

Have fun in London. Remnants of Florence coming our way on weekend. Summer is ending, boo hoo.