The Train Journey

So it was one of those days when I had to go by train, Manchester was the destination.  I had to be there fairly early and driving felt like too much petrol and too much hard work.
I took my essentials train supplies with me.  Gardens Illustrated obligingly arrived the day before and the book, Miss Garnet's Angel, was recommended to me and also arrived the day before, the fates dictated what my reading would be.  One of the things I enjoy most about a train journey is the chance to read magazines properly and not to skim.  This might sound odd as I read a lot, but often when reading magazines I am also watching TV or picking it up and putting it down, I rarely just stop, trains make me stop.  (I don't have the same issue with books, I read those in peace).  It also helps that I have recently cleared my backlog of garden magazine reading so I don't feel the pressure of all those magazines whispering 'pick me pick me'.  Reading on the train gives me the chance to be in my own bubble, my own world and I sat back and absorbed (and made note of the camellia on p 39 that I now want to buy).
Train journeys are also a chance to look out of the window and watch the scenery go by.  This time of year there are the autumn colours highlighted by the silver birch bark that picks its away along the tracks.  I also enjoy looking at the back gardens that occasionally line the rails.  Some are more affluent than others, some look like they are designed for train-viewing whilst others look less maintained.  It struck me that it was not affluence that really defines these gardens, what sets out the gardened from the less gardened is the effort and love that has gone into them.  I love this anonymous viewing of anonymous gardens.  I do not do this viewing whilst driving, it would lead to too many accidents.
I had to change at Chesterfield, what a lovely Victorian looking station.  Thankfully a short wait as it was cold.

Back on the train again and I am looking again at the world flying past.  There is a lot of standing water in the fields and as I travelled I knew more rain and gales were due.  The ground is already totally soaked so it was not a happy thought.  

The landscape has changed from a midlands to a northern landscape, yet still the underlying theme of the ubiquitous rolls of hay wrapped in black plastic dot the land.

There are mole hills dotted across the fields, I can't decide if they are recreating star constellations (moles are keen observers of the stars that's why they look like they are squinting.), or maybe they are spelling out messages in morse code to passing flying saucers?  I sometimes think I ought to learn more about moles and their ancient ways.
Then the landscape changes to more urban.  I start thinking about getting off the train and doing that rummaging around checking I have everything (seated) dance, it involves bag shaking and pocket patting and there where have I put my scarf twisting.  

The journey home is unremarkable, it is dark, there is no world outside just the occasional sprinkling of lights showing that life is continuing.  I start reading my book on the way home so I can block out the darkness.

Whenever I go on a train journey I usually enjoy it (if I get a seat) and think to myself that I should do it more often.  Then I get in my car and forget again, one day......


  1. Our eldest daughter and her family live in Cheshire, we are well used to the long train journeys where more often than not we lose ourselves in our books. From Aberdeen we have to change at Edinburgh, then again at Crewe that final step only takes 15 mins. It was actually easier when they lived in London when no change overs were necessary.

    1. I actively avoid train routes where I have to change trains, I hate it. I get really stressed about missing the connection or getting on the wrong train. This was a rare occasion where I accepted a train change in the route. Short journies do cut down the reading time.

  2. I too like looking into the backs of gardens from a train - the backs of lots of things . . . warehouses, shunting yards, bare walls. It's brilliant.

  3. I always wind up spending so much time gazing out of he window at gardens, fields, industrial buildings, that I tend to forget to read! I love driving, but there is something wonderful about a long train journey.


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