The Curious Traveller

I recently took a trip to London to see, among other things, a couple of exhibitions – more about these in a future post.  I normally fly from Edinburgh, but opted this time to take the train – so much more civilised, relaxing and interesting.

I decided to write down whatever came in to my mind while looking out the window. Below is the result.  It rather pleasingly captures the essence of the evolving journey.  I hope you enjoy it too. 🙂

On The Train

Golden fields, bare from harvesting;
deer browse and graze contentedly.
North Berwick – ever beautiful through the mist and drizzle;
rough seas – interesting; enticing.  I think
of the fisherman – a bumpy trip today.

The North East countryside.  Rich, heaving hills. Cradling.
Alnmouth nestles cosily between surf and surface.
que wind turbine blades.  Surprisingly static
in the midst of the weathery bluster.

Leaving Newcastle:  red brick terraces
huddle in spiky rows like furrows in the best-ploughed fields.
Durham’s majestic cathedral, bandaged today
but still dominating the skyline.

A change in fields: dark soil; lime shoots –
vivid against the yellowing trees.
Glimpses of blue sky welcome.  Enough
to make a sailor suit, as my Nan used to say.
I catch sight of a bird of prey rising from the soil.  Perhaps a buzzard.

Horses, cows, sheep, crows – all getting on
with their lives as we hurtle past.
New houses, half-built in clumps.
Old farm buildings isolated, crumbling.

Sweeping vistas.  Big skies.  Distant hills.
At last!  Some sunshine to greet us near York.
The train slows to take the broad sweep round into the city.
The Minister shimmers into view.  Awe-inspiring.
I always wonder what pilgrims must have thought
on approach in by-gone days.

More rain.  Gloomy clouds. A helicopter
on the wing.
Strong, hot tea and drizzle cake add comfort.

More distant spires – this time
colossal power station chimneys.
Immaculate fields.  Scrubby fields.
Vast and hedgeless.

We cross roads, tracks, canals, streams.
The train halts for nothing.  It is King
and we can feel smugly privileged to have
such authoritative passage.

Silver birches line the route with pretty dots of leaves,
like fairy lights turning to confetti along the banks.
Waking from a snooze south of Peterborough
to flat countryside,
and the sense that London is looming.

Rows of poplars standing ready to be painted impressionistically.
I read, I knit, I read again
but can’t settle.
4.5 hours of being only semi-relaxed.
Everything is too interesting.  Too mobile.
Even the mug on my table is restless,
vibratingly threatening to spill my tea.
Yes, more tea – why not!

More man-made furrows –
rows and rows and rows of
solar panels.

This late afternoon glistens and glows.
Warm sunshine ricochets off grey nimbus.
Flats, houses, schools, factories, shops.
They now outnumber the fields and trees.
Carparks, tennis courts, all things urban.
Stations and more stations.

And then, THE station.
King’s Cross all of a sudden.
After all that time, a journey of hours
seems to have lasted just minutes.


20 thoughts on “The Curious Traveller

  1. What a great idea to write the train journey down. Sounds great!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this! As a long-distance train traveller I should try something similar 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sandra! Would love to see your version some time 😀🚂


  3. I was on the train with you. Bravo. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Liz!! I was there with you with every kilometer that passed. And yes, more tea, why not?!!! Thanks for making my Vancouver drizzly day pure sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Becky – would love to take a glorious train trip with you some time! 😀🚂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a feeling that we are destined to make this journey together. Hugs and love.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Your poem is so lovely and I love that train ride from London to Edinburgh and back!


  6. Brilliant! Such an original way to record the long journey! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Now I wonder what you would have written if you had been on a plane? What would your eye have seen? 😉 Strangely, last night I was reading about a train journey taken by young Mary, in Mariana by Monica Dickens. She was travelling from London to Somerset. I see similarities in your descriptions even though the journeys are separated by decades.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is really fascinating – I love that life is so full of coincidence and serendipity like this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great idea, I love how visual it is in so few words and how things are ever changing as are your states of mind. We should have a whip round and see if we can’t send you on a longer journey hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – really glad you like it. And yes, very happy to oblige with any further travel/consultancy ideas! 🙂


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