Yesterday morning I took the 7.14 train from Chandler’s Ford to London Waterloo. The return ticket (including London Underground all zones) cost £90.
Ideally I should have taken the 6.06 train, but I wasn’t feeling safe to get to the station so early by myself. Recently I’ve heard of news about people being mugged in Eastleigh and Chandler’s Ford, so was a bit more concerned. I considered driving to the station, buying tickets from the machine near the platform, but …. what if someone jumped out from nowhere and I was on my own? I also considered driving to Southampton Airport Parkway but parking would have cost £15 per day.
I’ve taken the 7.14 train many times from Chandler’s Ford before so I knew that the ticket office would likely to be open, and there would be more people around. I wanted to feel safe. When I bought the ticket at the counter, I was reminded that I COULD NOT return via Southampton Airport Parkway, as the permitted route was via Eastleigh only. However in the past I wasn’t aware of this restriction (and many people probably are not aware of the restriction either) and had sometimes taken the Southampton Airport Parkway route. Now I know that we have to pay extra via the airport if we travel from Chandler’s Ford.
I used to live in London more than 20 years ago. But now, visiting London I feel like a tourist. In 2014 I made a trip to London Belgrave Square and I wrote about my experience of visiting the Malaysia High Commission.
I should have renewed my passport a few months ago – but unfortunately I didn’t have my passport with me then. The Home Office had got all my legal documents in the past few months, as I applied for a Biometric Residence Permit. As a foreign national with permission to settle (‘indefinite leave to remain’) we are now required to have a residence permit.
After spending closer to £300 in the application process and a few months’ wait, I have finally successfully obtained such permit. I am happy. I have followed the Home Office’s rules accordingly. I now have a residence permit. I have a reference number. This is a different immigration matter and I may talk about it in a separate post in the future (if anyone is interested. Would you let me know if you want to know more of this?).
My passport renewal fee was a moderate £41. There was no queue and there was only a handful of people there. My application took only about 10 minutes, and I had a few hours to spare before collecting my new passport at 3pm.
For many years you could enjoy traditional home made food at the High Commission. The food was authentic and inexpensive. However the food stall (like a little canteen) has now gone. Where else could I find proper, authentic Malaysian food from now? I feel lost.
I explored Belgrave Square a bit – someone seemed to be shouting about releasing Julian Assange and there seemed to be some tents around. Perhaps these people are his ardent supporters?
With the help of the sat nav on my new phone, I walked a short distance to Harrods. Now I felt like a true tourist. I took a silly selfie with the guard in his smart green uniform. There were a lot of tourists, and in particular, a long line of Chinese tourists queueing to pay for their LV bags.
Back to the High Commission, I collected my passport at 3pm. On the way home, I read the tragic news that a man was stabbed to death on a London Waterloo-bound South Western train yesterday afternoon. My husband texted me with worry.
At Waterloo station, I resisted the temptation of getting on the ‘wrong’ train via Southampton Airport Parkway. I remembered the warning I had received in the morning – “You can’t take any route; you can only take any route PERMITTED”. As a decent citizen, I waited for a later train for Eastleigh and Portsmouth Harbour instead.
When the train finally arrived at Eastleigh I was totally exhausted, so I popped over to see Chippy Minton and his family for a cup of tea. Do you still remember Chippy writing about his home-baking – making the Christmas Cake? Ladies and gentlemen, I was so lucky. I had a slice of Chippy’s home-made Christmas Cake. It’s so sumptuous! The decoration is also top class!
This was just what I really needed after my grand trip to London.