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.
Statuesque 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
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.