Friday, 9 October 2009

Trains and Trainstations and People

It is well known: I do some of my more creative work-writing and most of my fun-writing (this) on long distance trains.

I enjoy that blissfull detachment, the not-quite-real state, that comes with nomadic work.

Various trainrides are already documented on blogs or boardpostings. And I notably remember the pull (or honeytrap?) of a lady who was alledgedly on her way to a blind-date.

There is the story of the four impeccably dressed (public-) schoolteachers with perfect but artificial sounding RP. They sat "discreetly" discussing school matters across the isle in the quiet coach. And they strongly dissaproved of my mobile that kept going off (some of you know that my ringtones can be a bit adventurous).

There was also the girl who dumped her boyfriend with one phonecall between Kx and Leeds. She took the whole train journey to do it. And the complete coach could listen in. Good riddance, and I hope the bloke learned a lesson. That girl, by the way, is not likely to make a good escort Lady: Too indecisive and too chatty. She would make a good timewaster though.

But now I am sitting in a waiting-lounge, awaiting a delayed connecting train. I wonder how many fellow travellers are also picking up the nexecwifi and surfing the net.

Next to me is a completely bland, very boring couple in their 30s. They seem like one of those newly formed pairs, still ill at ease with one-another. They may have met via the internet and now had their first skinny-frappuchino together. I can just imagine him mailing: "I will be wearing a long dark-blue coat, green corduroy trousers with brown shoes and have "The Times" under my left arm." Next time, she can also recognize him from the non-matching blue-ish socks. Probably not just Socks, but M&S socks.

"Him" is a not-yet-restyled "Man from platform 5" and "Her" looks like a Guardian reader who is into knitting, pottery and watercolour paintings. They both really need an appointment with Trinny and Susannah.
The couple are gravely occupied on two separate discussions about their mental health and family related issues. They are both speaking at a careful, somewhat tense but completely flat tone and each fully focussed on their own topic. Still loud enough so at least 10 people in earshot have to listen.

He is awkwardly escorting her to her departure and I hope she goes on a different train then I do.

Heeeelp, I'm a naughty blogger, get me out of here!


Richard Heath said...

Wonderful portrait of train travel. I wish that trains were as much fun here in the US. We are so into our cars, we don't get what a great thing trains are. Though I have had enough experience with them to realize how good they are.

Ptr_leeds said...

Hi Richard, and welcome back.

You have to be a bit lucky in train-travel. Ability to book a 1st class seat helps, but I'm not always that lucky. And a lot of the more interesting characters are in 2nd anyway.
The comfort also depends on country, trainline, and time of day. Rush hour in Holland can be particularly horrible, whereas German trains are always Great and good value for money. UK trains are a mixed bunch, but understanding the language and culture helps. And in general, the main lines in UK are quite OK. Expensive, but OK.

I can recommend the ride from Leeds to Edinburgh: Great Scenery.