I’d over-stretched myself with a busy morning of cycling to the Welsh border combined with talking to strangers along the route, and now it was time to head home to Newcastle. It was only when my family gathered at Waverley station to see me off that I realised that my train ticket was not in my purse, but in a box in the study at the flat. There was no time to go back and fetch it, yet the purchase of a new ticket would cost over £100. This was a figure that I could not afford. When Granny H pulled out her purse and offered to pay, I felt terrible, but my mother urged me to accept her generous offer. Nobody questioned how or why my grandmother had returned from the dead to dish out cash to her favourite grand-daughter.
At our destination there was further confusion. Between us my young step-sister and I managed to leave a small suitcase on the train at Newcastle. As it travelled west on the train towards Carlisle we sought advice from station staff. When the cartoon station master on the poster didn’t respond to my questions I asked a tall policeman called Gil what we could do about our lost suitcase. He suggested that we phone ahead to Carlisle and – if we were lucky – we’d be able to persuade the staff there to put the suitcase to one side for us, rather than blow it up (which was the usual practice for lost belongings at the end of that particular train line).