The tale of the Swedish suitcase

There was a honk of slurry from outside the train at Templemore – the smell of the countryside. Another woman with the most plummy Dublin 4 accent I have ever heard crinkled her nose in disgust. Speaking to her children (they looked like a Sneachta and a Fiachra) she proclaimed ‘Ew. It’s disgusting. It must be coming from outside. I don’t think a human is capable of that.’

Has she never been outside the M50 I wondered?

Disembarking at Heuston Station horror dawned. I was missing something. My rolling suitcase. In a slight tizzy I retraced my actions. I remembered putting it on the overhead shelf on the station from Limerick. And then promptly forgot all about it, leaving it on the train at Limerick Junction. The clement conditions at the Junction had clearly been designed to lull me into a false sense of security. My forgetfulness was probably because the journey to Dublin is routine. I take it weekly but always only carry an over the shoulder bag. A suitcase is a novelty.

Into the information office at Heuston I trotted, to explain my predicament to the friendly woman behind the desk. She was flat of heel and short of hair. My kind of people I thought to myself. She gave me the number of the station in Limerick, explaining that the train would be returning to Limerick and so this was the most appropriate place to start my search. I rang the number repeatedly. To no avail. No answer.

I now had a dilemma. In my stylish satchel I had my passport, wallet, phone, bank cards, insulin and change of underwear. In theory I could throw caution to the wind and continue to Sweden like the Super Trouper, Anni-Frid always told me I was. There was a problem. Nestled inside my suitcase was my work laptop – an item of equipment that I needed to find as a matter of urgency. The thought of telling my boss on Tuesday ‘Well yes, I realised I lost it on Friday but decided to wait four days before attempting to recover it’ might have raised a few concerns at my pending performance review. I needed to locate that blasted computer

Purchasing a single ticket to Limerick I boarded the 16.00 train back. I contacted the hotel in Stockholm who told me that I would only be charged for the first night. That was a relief. I looked at my ABBA Museum ticket and to my joy I discovered it was fully refundable if cancelled 24 hours before the entrance time. They were always a good bunch of lads – Agnetha; Bjorn; Benni and Anni-Frid.

The train stopped at Port Laoise station where we were told that due to track-works we would need to transfer to a bus which would take us to Thurles. I am certain that both Port Laoise and Thurles have their charms (Port Laoise has a high security prison for example) I really wasn’t feeling it by this point. An hour long bus journey later we boarded another train. The next stop was once again Limerick Junction.

With its malevolent glare the Junction leered at me. I boarded the train, glad that my next stop was Limerick, where hopefully my suitcase would await. The Junction had no such plans. The train did not move. Forty minutes later I was getting slightly delirious. Was I cursed? Was I destined to spend the rest of my life in this godforsaken place? With a whimper I disembarked the train and asked the rail employee why we were not moving. With a smile he told me that my train to Limerick was waiting for the next Dublin to Cork train to arrive to transport passengers from both trains to Limerick.

At 7.45pm I reached Linerick Station. Over to the station master’s office I scurried. He told me that no suitcase had been found on the train when it arrived back earlier that day. I asked him if I could check the train myself. He replied with what could only be described as a chuckle.

‘Oh no, sure that train went on to Galway, after coming back here’.

‘Can you ring Galway Station please to check if they have it.’

You’d swear I’d just asked him to donate his left kidney to me. That is probably just a reflection of my mood by this point though.

Galway station reported that they had my bag and that this train was coming back to Limerick at 6.50am the next morning.

Almost weeping with gratitude I promised to return in the morning. As I ate my spice-bag that evening, I vowed to be more attentive on future excursions.

Today is Saturday. It is now 10am. I am just home from Colbert Station in Limerick. Beside me sits my suitcase. Safe and sound. All contents inside.

It’s my own fault I know.

Nevertheless… I blame Limerick Junction.

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