And surprise surprise, still don't own anything!
The peace that usually settled over the station at Rio at half seven in the morning was shattered by the arrival of the Swallows, Amazons and the Ds, all chattering excitedly. The train was on time- a good omen according to Nancy, it was normally late apparently. By quarter to, they were all on board and settled, although there had been a tense moment where all had expected an argument. John had attempted to help Nancy with her case, and instead of accepting graciously, she had exploded and informed him that she was 'perfectly capable of managing by herself thank you very much!' As Susan said to Peggy afterwards- 'You'd think John would have learned by now really.
After that, however, everything ran smoothly and the first part of the journey went quickly. Dot and Titty discussed Dot's latest story idea, Roger and Dick compared thoughts on steam engines, Nancy and John were planning for their arrival in Norfolk (argument forgotten) and Susan and Peggy were getting organised for changing trains. A little early perhaps, but there were quite a few of them, and they anticipated that the others would be useful.
Predictably, the arrival in Birmingham was much less peaceful than the departure, and things got more complicated. Pairing off, they made their way over to the next train, with John in front, seeing as he was the tallest. They made it without too much difficulty, a bit of jostling but nothing too serious. They climbed aboard and went looking for a free compartment. Finding one proved easier said than done. They found one with six free spaces, and one with two. It was agreed that John and Nancy, as the oldest, would take the carriage with only two spaces. At least, Susan and Peggy claimed it was because they were the oldest.
Rolling her eyes, Nancy hauled John over to the other compartment, missing the pleased glances Peggy and Susan exchanged with Dot and Titty. Luckily for them. They reached their places and sat down. An elderly lady who was sat next to Nancy smiled at them and began to talk.
"It's so nice to see young people walking out together, takes me back to my youth. What's your name dear and that of your young man?" Nancy went bright red, and John suddenly developed an immense fascination with his shoes.
"My name's Nancy and this is John. He's not my young man though, we're just friends. We're travelling down to the broads together with our siblings and some other friends, but there wasn't room for all of us in one compartment so…" Nancy cut off, realising she was gabbling. The lady obviously didn't believe her.
So you say my dear. Well if you're not courting now, I've no doubt you soon will be. What do you say young man?" This was aimed at john, who shot Nancy a look saying 'HELP.'
"Umm… well… we hadn't given it any thought. We're just best friends, honest ma'am." The lady smiled at them and decided not to press the matter. The young couple sat next to her would realise their feelings in time.
"Oh there's no need for that dear, John wasn't it. I'm Mrs Maybrook. So, you say you're visiting the Broads? I remember visiting as a girl…" She continued to tell them stories from her youth throughout the journey. She had led an interesting life, and John and Nancy were glad of this. It took their minds off the previous, rather awkward conversation.