Over the last few weeks, I’ve taken a number of photos of trees in their autumnal finery, but for the last few days it has hardly stopped raining and most of the trees are now bare, which makes them less photogenic. Not only that, but when it’s pouring with rain, it’s not always easy – or appealing – to stop and take a photograph. So this post intersperses some thoughts I had during the recent rain with photos taken during brighter weather.
I was brought up in a London suburb, but taxis were not a common mode of transport except when we went on holiday as a family, or on occasional excursions in the capital when we would hail a Hackney in the street – always the old black cab that could turn on a sixpence and that was driven by a bloke who had done “the knowledge”.
Continue reading “of taxis and trees”
In the United States and in Canada, April is National Poetry Month.
Although we don’t actually celebrate the month in the UK, focusing instead on a single Thursday in October for National Poetry Day, the concept of “national” celebrations has become very blurred in recent years. With modern tech and global comms, it’s sometimes hard to ignore the sheer number and volume of voices taking it for granted that what’s true in their region must be true everywhere.
So there is a little bit of my mind that seems to think I should be writing or posting poetry throughout the month.
Continue reading “à propos April”
Trains were a major feature of my childhood. I don’t know how many times I’d actually been on a train before my first birthday, but I do know that I had already travelled from the south east of England all the way to the Highlands, a journey that, even today, would be likely to take the best part of a day.
Even when we returned to live in the south a few years later we didn’t own a car so my father commuted to London by train and underground each day, and any holiday we took tended to feature traditional black cabs and card games played in waiting rooms at railway junctions.
Continue reading “train of thought”
Even someone who cares as little about cars as I do couldn’t walk past the Rolls Royce parked in town the other day without stopping to look closer. It wasn’t the car that interested me, though: it was the emblem – or, as Wikipedia would have it, the bonnet ornament.
I don’t think I’d ever really thought about what the figure represented; I’d just assumed it was a winged victory. But now I come to do some research, I find it’s actually the Spirit of Ecstasy.
Continue reading “ecstatic thoughts”
The EWS logo on the side of a train the other night caught my eye: it seemed so eminently traditional that I felt it must belong to the era of nationalised railways and navy blue quilted anoraks.
Having looked it up online, though, I find the company is only twenty years old. I also find that what I think of as an anorak probably bears little resemblance to the original Greenlandish garment.
Continue reading “transports of delight”
Perhaps it was more of a steam engine than a locomotive but, from the angle that top photo was taken from, it was certainly plum-coloured.
Its trimmings were in other shades, though, including the most glorious scarlet wheels with black and yellow detailing:
Continue reading “plum loco”
When I was out walking the other day, I came across this lovely angle, where the Grand Union Canal crosses the railway track.
Initially, I thought of Frost’s “two roads diverged in a yellow wood”, but that wasn’t quite right, as there were no steps down to the train line so I had to keep following the towpath, whether I wanted to or not.
Continue reading “let me count the ways”