Julia took me to Cambridge. She very graciously took the tube into town to meet me but there was a half hour delay with her sitting in a tunnel with no cell phone service. Pat had loaned Jeff his spare cell phone which was extremely handy, to say the least, so we were able to contact people. Anyway, it was a comedy of transportation errors from that point on. We walked to Liverpool tube station because I wanted to see Julia’s store there. Then we went to get train tickets, but the line between Liverpool and Cambridge wasn’t running. The man at the ticket counter told us to take a tube to King’s Cross and from there catch a train. Julia bought all the tickets, I was fresh out of cash. I never repaid her for what to me would have been $45 in tickets. Anyway, we went down to catch the tube and they said it was delayed. The announcement was basically saying no trains are running, find a bus.
Somewhat defeated we stood on the platform and Julia called her friend in Cambridge that we were going to have lunch with. As they were talking, here came the tube. We made it to King’s Cross Station where we could catch the train, and had a lovely trip to Cambridge.
Of course, as anyone who has read the Harry Potter books knows, Platform 9 3/4 is at the King's Cross station. (Did I mention Pat introduced me to Harry Potter when we stayed with him in October of 1999? It hit England, of course, before it hit America.)
Julia is a marvelous person who I would like to get to know better under any circumstances, and I enjoyed talking to her on the way to Cambridge and back. Her friend Maureen is an absolutely charming woman as well, and as we walked from Maureen’s beautiful home across a cow pasture on the skirts of Cambridge into town for lunch I felt like I was living a chapter from some novel. These two cultured British women women with their beautiful English accents and their soft lilting voices discussing their friends as we picked our way across the pasture... It was something out of a movie. It was just delightful. We saw Julia’s Cambridge store, then met Maureen’s husband for lunch.
Julia and I just made it to the train in time to get back… She needed to pick up her kids. I was going to come out with her and then come back into town with Pat for a user’s group that Hubby was going to attend, but decided it might be better if I just took the tube back to the hotel.
Julia has cancer. She had… oh shoot. I can’t remember where it was the first time… Was it Breast cancer? Anyway, five years ago, just after she met Pat, she found out she had cancer. Her husband had died of cancer three years or so before… Anyway Pat helped her through this, and she survived, only to find out recently that it had come up again in her spine. The doctors are giving her two years, though they say they have a patient with the same type of cancer who is going on eight. Hearing this about this wonderful woman his just heartbreaking. You want her to live to be 100, a charming little old English woman.
Jeff and I went to the user’s group that night… a bar full of people talking shop. Angela from New Zealand met us there, and I talked a little with her, but mostly the people I talked to were nice computer people who took pity on the wife of the American. I did get a lead on a good museum, and left early with one of Jeff’s friends who pointed it out to me. He walked me to the tube stop and I went back to the hotel and read until Jeff came in about midnight, I think.