Christmas shopping is easier to do , I find , if you go to a city of your choice , armed with a list , enough funds and stamina . If you do it in your own town , the temptation to slope off home (or to the library) is too great to resist and the whole thing becomes a saga without end .
So , well-armed , I got on a train going south on Saturday and sat sipping coffee , eating my ham roll , and admiring the landscape , lightly dusted with snow , out of the window .
Once in Utrecht , I set to work . An industrial quantity of mini-Lego was neatly gift-wrapped by a cheerful young man in a paper hat .The snow fell . Little independent shops yielded a large number of interesting little surprises, also beautifully gift-wrapped .The snow fell . I ate a delicious lunch . The snow fell . I decided to treat myself to a present or two , so walked along the canal to the quilt shop . The snow fall turned into a mini blizzard . On the way back , I passed a World Music shop and found a c.d. by a brilliant Spanish singer . The blizzard carried on blizzarding .
So , back to the station .
With everyone else who had spent the day in the city .
No trains . And I do mean NO trains .The concourse was packed with people , all staring at a totally blank Departure board .
After a while we all began to heave to and fro in search of information , coffee , a loo . Still nothing .
An hour later a train was announced , going north .
A huge number of us rushed to platform 12 and squeezed onto a train . And stood . And stood .
After 20 minutes we were all told to get off . As we struggled up the platform , we were flattened by a crowd rushing into our train , which seemed to have decided to go west instead .
15 minutes later they were told to get off again and they rejoined us on the concourse .
After an hour , a train was announced going to Amsterdam . WE CHEERED AS ONE !!!
I finally got home , hours later , and could sleep in my own bed , not the camp beds which seem to lie ready in huge piles , ready for just such eventualities in Utrecht .
But next year , if I can't buy it online , you're not getting it .