The Journey

Tinder is a game. I have no doubt that some lasting matches have arisen from it, but for those of us who have emerged from the Tinder experience single, it is difficult to view it in any other way. You get ‘rewarded’ for getting matches, which encourages you to ‘like’ people, because obviously you increase your chances of matches then. But you only want to ‘like’ people you actually like, so you have to ‘play’ more so you actually find people you like.

So, I weaned myself off it until some friends came round and were intrigued enough to make me want to show them my new toy. One of them said, ‘hey – how about we choose for you?’ It was one of those drunken suggestions that seems like a laugh and indeed it was . . . They sat either side of me and hooted with laughter whilst randomly selecting unlikely men. I was going on a therapeutic skiing holiday the next day and so I went off to the Alps armed with a whole new set of Tinder matches.

My journey to the Alps was one of the worst journeys in the history of journeys. Ok, I’m not including those of intrepid explorers like Captain Oates or the entire crew plus passengers on board the Titanic, but in terms of reaching holiday destinations, it was pretty horrific.

It started badly when the taxi was late. Now, the taxi company I used was pretty much at the end of my road. I waited till the due time, then called to hassle them and they still took 10 minutes to arrive, even though it is about a minute’s drive away. Now, I was not in the best of moods by the time he arrived but bizarrely, he was in a worse mood! No tip for Mr Taxi Driver then. So, we arrived at Brighton Station and in my naïveté, I thought it would be open. At least, I thought it would be open by 3.50, when my train was due to leave but no, it opens at 4am. This is good to know for future reference. No matter what time you book your train for, if it’s the small hours, it won’t leave till some time after 4 even though they have this whole selection of fancy times on the website.

So, there we were, my daughter and I, in town at around 3.30 am on a Friday night, being jostled at the locked gates of Brighton Station. I felt like I was in one of those movie scenes where you have to share a cell with a bunch of hardened criminals and you’re the goody goody who shouldn’t be there because it’s all a mistake . . . Or a zombie movie where the undead are clamouring at the conveniently locked gates. The second analogy is more fitting, given the drunken state and vacant looks of most of the would-be passengers. Silently (lest I should burden Rhiannon with my fears) I concerned myself over the likelihood of any of these reprobates sharing our train. I hoped that, like zombies, they were merely drawn to the gates because they were locked.

My thoughts, descending into increasing negativity by the second, were interrupted as the gates creaked open. The openness of Brighton Station was most welcome as we scattered and left the drunken contingency of the crowd at the gate to stagger slowly and aimlessly.

A few of the zombies made it onto our train, so we moved carriages and as zombies are not known for their cerebral prowess, we managed to outsmart them and shake them off. The train stopped at every possible stop plus a few more. The journey was so long that I think some new places actually popped up in the suburbs along the way. Finally, we reached Waterloo, only to discover that my son’s coach had been delayed . . . We waited . . . And waited . . . And then he arrived with a few minutes to spare.

And breathe. We arrived at Paris with one hour to cross the city to board the train to the Alps. This sounded easy but was not . . . After nearly falling off the (incredibly slow) Metro in my haste to board it, we finally threw ourselves onto the snow train literally seconds before it departed.

Surely we could relax now, I hear you say! Well, we did, but we still had one final leg of the journey. The bus from the train station to Tignes. Which was fine, until it arrived in Tignes. Just somewhere in Tignes. Now, it was getting dark by this time and we’d had our quota of stress for one year, and we were tired . . . And hungry, so this was not ideal. We wandered around for a bit, with luggage in tow, then spotted a small shop in the distance, about to close. I spluttered some French, failed to understand his reply, but the children took note of his arm gestures and so we managed to wend our weary way to our home for the week and everything became worthwhile. I took my phone out and what should greet me but 3 Tinder notifications . . .


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