Today’s story is about Mr Indoors and the attempt to catch the train on time to get to Lisbon airport for the ‘Made in Stone’ film premiere in Manchester. Except that Mrs not as Glamorous had other plans for him first.
Yeh, ok, I get it, as one of the editors Mr Indoors particularly wanted to attend this thing. So all I had to do was drop him off at a train station near Lisbon to get him to the airport for the plane to Manchester. Mrs not as Glamorous (me) on the other hand is not on the invite, but I don’t mind because really, there’s nothing like staying behind to varnish the new floor. On the way to Lisbon I decided it was a great idea to do a spot of multi-tasking. We just had to find the EDP office in Cadaval to get the electricity connected to the new house, fill out the paperwork and find the train station. What could be simpler?
Our estate agent had confirmed there was an EDP electricity office in Cadaval. I emailed him for the address. No reply. I tried an internet search for the location but there was no reference to a local office in Cadaval. We almost went into the EDP office in Castelo Branco but were advised against bothering for Lisbon. Better to have a three hour drive. With dog. When we bought a house last year from a quite different estate agent, Remax, they took us to the EDP office and translated for us. Then to the water board. Then the bank. And anywhere else we needed to be. Even drove us past the town swimming pool so we’d know where it was. No help from our new agents. Just saying.
We drove around for twenty minutes then spotted the EDP office down a side street. It was hitting 12.30pm. The lady at the desk looked at her watch as we launched into pigeon Portuguese with rehearsed sentences about needing a new meter and connection. She waved the watch at us. I rummaged around for the right paperwork. It had disappeared. She shook her head and ushered us out, locked the door behind us and skipped off down the road. Oh dear, come back! We have a train to catch!
We watered the dog then hung out at a café where we were within viewing distance of the EDP office. We saw Lady at Desk approach and legged it across the road towards the office. In front of us a local darted out from the side street and straight into the office. Lady at Desk and local chatted away while a bill was paid, chatted away afterwards, and chatted away while standing at the door on the way out. We smiled as she looked at us, sharing a joke, and we smiled back as though we understood and tried not to show any signs of anxiety. I wanted to wave my watch at her. Finally, our turn!
This time I had found the paperwork, the deed, proof of existence, a picture of the house. What else could they need? Still, she shook her head. Silly us, she needed the name of the last owner? No? The name of the owner before that? No? Oh, OF COURSE, the name of the owner before THAT. Otherwise no connection. Sorry. Our paperwork didn’t go back that far. There was no record of the house on the computer. I showed her a picture. “Look, it exists. It just needs electricity.” She made some calls. Still nothing. Nothing she could do. ‘Go away now’, she effectively said, ‘and don’t come back until you’ve got something else’.
It was past 2.00pm. I had to pick the kids up from school, and still drop Mr Indoors at a train station near Lisbon. I would never make it doing both. We changed plans to stop at a station instead on the way back to Castelo Branco. We would never catch the planned 14.20 train from Cartaxo and the next one was 17.00 something. We drove to Entroncamento. We should have plenty of time this way.
Have you ever tried to find the train station at Entroncamento? Ha, don’t. It lures you in with the false promise of logical signposting. We followed signs that led us towards roads with a big ‘no entry’ notice. The GPS didn’t recognise this and neither did the signposts. We were in a maze. We hadn’t eaten since our mid-morning snack and hunger was making us snippy with each other. I reversed down one road, up another, turned round in another. We could see the tracks, we just couldn’t get to them. According to the GPS I was now going to be five minutes late to collect child number one. We asked directions. Something about a rotunda. We drove round the rotunda and back up the one way system. Another sign which took us under the railway line. Finally we pulled up at the station and Mr Indoors grabbed his suitcase, passport, and said goodbye to me and the dog as I hit the accelerator and drove far, far away from Entroncamento.