This morning I woke up at shortly after four - grabbed some breakfast and then my friends gave me a lift to Basingstoke where I caught the first train to London. The train was mostly empty so I was able to keep my distance. I then tiptoed through the tube (which was mostly empty) to the Eurostar terminal. The bloke on the British boarder control wanted to know why I was leaving the UK, so I said I was going home - which he thought funny - and then French boarder team even let me through with a smile.
My train was deserted, so once there were no more confirmed passengers to pick up we were encouraged to spread out and stay spread out. There was no onboard food, so I used their free WiFi, did some French homework and tried to sleep as best I could.
At Gare du Nord I had fun finding the Metro line, it's physically easy to get to, but very poorly signposted. The station wasn't deserted, but it was pretty empty, and no one was checking on arrivals from foreign lands. My Metro train wasn't empty to start with, but plenty of free space, but by the time I arrived at my destination there was probably only three people on the whole train, including the driver!
Gare Montparnasse was a lot more active than Gare Du Nord, but still relatively empty so I could stand well clear until my TGV was called. It looked like the train was going to be packed, but that turned out to be silly people with too much luggage trying to get on the train and then not knowing where to put it when they had to go onto the top deck. My carriage was less than half full and everyone sounded fine.
At Rennes I had a good one and a half hour connection, so I ate my packed lunch in isolation and waiting for my TER home to be platformed. Rennes stations has recently been renovated and it's now quite light and airy, it could go with more seats though.
Finally my TER arrived and we bimbled the last leg home considerably slower than the TGV segments...! My train was almost deserted so plenty of space, and while I know there were SNCF staff about as I could see them on the platforms they weren't checking tickets - which is understandable.
I finally arrived home to glorious sunshine and a deserted town. I was able to walk the last kilometre in peace and quite, though with almost no cars about and the Police Nationale and Gendarmes busy some people were taking liberties with their speed.
I had a cup of tea (I'm still a little British yet) and then emptied my stuff before crashing to bed.
Today's blip is an odd little thing. Many years ago for my step-father I bought him a mug for his birthday, it was a novelty mug and it said "Over The Hill Club". It came with this key ring. Dad always liked a big cup of tea, so it was a joke and he was happy enough with it. I'm not actually sure which birthday it would have been, probably his 60th, because he was still at work I think. The mug didn't last for ever, but this strange little key ring has, and it was at the bottom of the bag of things that I came home with.
Strange how a memento turns out to be something you actually bought.