The Tails of Teal the guide dog. Plymouth to Paddington

Six Hours on a train in February 2020 and through a storm !

Platform 7 on Plymouth Train Station in February 2020

Team Imeson’s members Emma, Teal and myself Roy had personal invites to St James Palace in London to be honourable guests at the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award ceremony. On Monday 10th February 2020.

St James Palace London.

The day before I had been working in Plymouth at a Building Plynouth careers event and decided the easiest way to get to London was ravelling from Plynouth. Travel arrangements when one of the team is blind can be a hassle, but we try to turn the hassle into an adventure. This trip certainly turned into an adventure.

Emma and I are new to both owning a dog and having a guide dog. imagine adopting your first two year old child. Then make it an intelligent one with some sort of special powers. Please don’t think of special powers as a bad thing. She can manage to turn left, right and stand in command. A special power most humans don’t have.

The picture is of my ticket.. which is apparently with London Overground and not Great Western Railway. Ie you cannot claim for a refund!

We arrived at Plymouth train station via taxi and in time to allow me to take Teal for a pee on the grass verge by the station. After her dance routine along the verge she did a pee and we entered the station.

Once in the station we were allowed access to the train that was sat on the platform, this enabled us to get settled, turn on our ipad and start to watch the tv programs we had downloaded in the hotel. Just picture us, at a table loads of leg room, warm and dry as the storm around us battered Great Britton. The term I would use is “snug and a bug in a rug”.

The next thing, over the intercom, the news was shouted out… “this train has been cancelled due to a lack of staff.” This followed by “please exit as soon as possible”. This is were for Mrs I and I, a massive panic started.. For me, it was what do I do with Teal! She will not understand why we are getting on and off a train. I imagined in my head her thoughts…. – .. “is this part of my training….”is he mental”.. “why didn’t I try harder at doggy training college and pass as a police sniffer dog” ….-

Mrs I’s panic was more …”when will we get to watch the rest of Eastenders”…, “what do I do with these two”.. “when is the next train”… “do we abort this trip?

We gathered all our stuff together and made our way of train. We then stood outside on the platform in the stormy weather and watched our warm, empty train drive off! Apparently, the train found staff in Exeter and traveled up the country as scheduled….. arses…

An hour later we had another message – “please can all the people on platform 7 make their way to platform 5 and board the train”. Well… in a true British Manner the people waiting for the 9 coached train on platform 7 ran towards the stairs and under the platform, up the stairs and jumped onto the 5 coached train as if their was a winning golden ticket to Charlie Wonkers factory hidden under a seat on coach A or B or C and so on.

This announcement led for yet another opportunity for Team Imeson to panic…….

Never mind the blind bloke with his new guide dog, wife and two bags! We suddenly found ourselves being dragged along. Teal did her job and Emma ran ahead saying loudly to try to get into people’s minds that Teal and myself were behind! I simple shouted the only dog command I could think of at the time in this panic “Steady…Steady”. I was nearly shouting it after the first few minuets of this stampede for train seats….

The train station staff! Well they said, bare in mind it was stormy..ie windy, raining cats and dogs and that we had been stood in the platform for an hour “be careful of the wet platform!” Had they cared, they could of offered me assistance and let us board the empty train earlier. #GreatWesternRailway.

Well, this tale is nearly over; we boarded the train and set of at 1215 and arrived in Paddington at 1730 ish. Teal managed to keep her patience and hold her bladder. The people on our carriage were fun and very British, sharing food they had bought prior to boarding. When we arrived into the station I went in search of more grass to help Teal with the bathroom stuff.

I think I have both a brilliant dog and new hobby – ie. working out when and were my guide dog can have a pee. #thatswhatdogsdoo

My new hobby- Finding Grass in a City for Teal to Peee

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