I got up at the crack of dawn, had coffee, got packed, and left the cats to enjoy a bonanza of kitty nosh. All was well, except for the fact that it was still raining a bit, but at least it wasn't the torrential downpour of a couple of hours earlier. I got to the station, and was immediately struck by how quiet and deserted the place looked. Looked at the board: it was empty. WTF? I accosted a lone railway employee, who cheerfully informed me that due to lightning strike, the grid was down, and there were no trains coming or going anywhere. What?! He then advised me to take the tram to the other major station in town, from whence, he assured me, trains could still depart for the airport and the capital. The lying git! When I got to the other station, there were no trains there, either. Meanwhile, my plane was about to take off in about 50 minutes.
The Hague is about a 30 mins trainride from Schiphol. By car, it takes slightly longer, but the difference is measured in minutes. So, I took a cab. When I explained to Kenneth, my driver, that I needed to be at the airport in 40 mins or less, he understood immediately and drove like a maniac. I arrived at the airport at 8:45 am. My plane would leave at 9:10 -- I had made it! I wished Ken luck with his upcoming nuptials (as we were driving, he'd been arguing with his fiancee about her not having turned up for a rehearsal on his mobile), paid the exorbitant fare without grumbling, and dashed into Departures...only to get to a complete standstill in the queue for the check-in counter. Sod's law, innit? You're in a hurry, so everything and everyone conspires against you. Two women held up the queue for God knows how long, and then I noticed that my plane, which was scheduled to leave at 9:10, had now been brought forward to 9:00 am. I asked if I could be let up front, but it seemed everyone was just as pissed off at these women taking so long as I was, and they said no. So it isn't until 8:58 before I approach the counter...and am not surprised to hear that the gate has already been closed. Just as well, really; if you know Schiphol, you'll know that there is no way you can get to gate D22 from Departures and through Customs in less than a minute, because it's f*cking miles away!
Dutifully, the girl tried calling the gate, but there was no one at the other end, and I was left with no other option but to re-book myself onto the next flight...which won't leave until 9:00 pm CET. I called to let calove know she needn't come to Gatwick just yet, and got her charming young son on the phone.
Half an hour later, a train left for Rotterdam, and I got home via a circuitous route. Hope the problem gets sorted before I have to track back up again!