let’s not talk about it

I’ve mentioned before that, despite the restrictions to normal life, I’ve been doing quite a lot of travelling on public transport recently. I’ve waited quietly at the station, keeping as far away as possible from other travellers and felt very much like Dick Turpin about to waylay a stagecoach or a highwayman about to hold up the mailtrain as I’ve pulled my mask over my face when the train approaches.

I don’t particularly like wearing a face mask, but I think it probably makes sense to do so, not just because it’s a legal requirement.
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train of thought

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.
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something for the journey

I have always enjoyed travelling. Not necessarily because I want to get somewhere in particular, but for the simple joy of the journey: the “time between places” when, particularly if you travel alone and on public transport, you can duck out of life and be someone else entirely.

Chance encounters in the buffet car, casual conversations that crop up between complete strangers, momentary glimpses of other people’s lives, things seen from train windows – and, as in the photo above, sometimes even the trains themselves in their festive glad rags.
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transports of delight

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.
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the muse bemused

Yesterday, I said that my muse seems to have gone off on holiday.

Chiltern Railways advert
After reading this story on the BBC website this morning, I wonder if she’s travelling by train, and in particular if she’s travelling with Chiltern Railways. The headline reads

Chiltern Railways toilets become ‘inspiration stations’

and the story tells how the train toilets are being transformed with floor-to-ceiling vinyl images based on “attractions” along the Birmingham to London route. The only example cited is Compton Verney, an 18th Century country mansion in Warwickshire.
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