||or our sanity. Actually, after
days of preparation and much missed sleep, we slept much of the time on
the plane and bus. This was not made easy by our Canadian budget
airline, Zoom Airlines, whose commitment to cost-savings left me with a
non-reclining seat (not that the recliners were actually recognisable
to the naked eye), and whose devotion to cramming as many seats as
possible into the cabin led to bathroom queues more reminiscent of
stadium rock-concerts (and even flight attendants fighting with small
children over priority for the facilities.
|We chose Zoom for its peculiar policy
of selling one-way tickets. We had not thought very carefully about
their meagre luggage allowance of 30 kg per person, which we exceeded
by at least a third.
|We thought we were headed for a stiff fine when
the grim-faced company apparatchik started weighing every bag carefully
and toting up the results, and then turned to what I thought was a
well-camouflaged small carry-on bag that was actually stuffed with
personal papers and diaries that absolutely could not be checked in,
and discovered that it nearly tripled the 5 kg carry-on limit. But in
the end, whether she was worn down by my insistent questioning.(Is that
a 5kg per item limit or 15 kg for the three of us? What exactly are the
limits on a "personal item"?) and time-consuming repacking of bags, and
the sheer variegated menagerie of luggage that we were presenting, or
whether none of this was meant very seriously in the first place, she
then just let it all through with no mention of fine or fee.
On arriving in Oxford (by bus), we were fortunate to obtain from
the Worcester College porter the services of a very large luggage cart,
to transport our 13 pieces of luggage from Gloucester Green to our
home, about a 10 minute walk.
It will be interesting to see how the train system serves us on a more
regular basis. Julia will be commuting to work in Coventry, about 45
minutes from Oxford, with train service once an hour. The prices are
quite high: For less than the price of a year travelling second-class
on this route, you could get a year of first-class travel on the entire
German rail network. Another strange thing: It is cheaper to buy two
tickets, Oxford-Banbury and Banbury-Coventry, than the single ticket
Oxford-Coventry, despite the fact that it is a single train, operated
by a single company. And everyone tells us that the rail service grinds
to a halt as soon as there is a dusting of snow on the tracks, or even
a surfeit of autumn leaves. We shall see.