Sunday, September 24, 2006

Train Of Thought

Yesterday, Work Buddy and I took the same journey, at the same time, as Friday’s little trip toward Shepperton for part two of our conversation with the Delightful LA Actress about the project in hand. With sunshine and weekend traffic on the road it took less than half an hour.

Today, I took the train. From the station across the street here in North London I could go straight through the city to Wimbledon. There, one of the major chain bookshops opened before midday, meaning I could get Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy for DLLA and reference books for myself, and then get a train toward Shepperton.

In theory, it worked out perfectly. What I hadn’t counted on was the ‘essential engineering work’, which would only get me three stations south. From there, a tube to Waterloo. From Waterloo, a train to Wimbledon. Two extra journeys, but amazingly the connections lined up so there were no frustrating loitering around on platforms, willing a train to appear on the track.

Even the return journey, without the required interlude, expertly joined the dots. Which meant I didn’t mind when, on the first down escalator at Waterloo, a woman behind me pulled loose change from her pocket that rained down on me like shrapnel.

Picking up the coins for her, when I handed them back she simply held out her hand without even looking at me. Without realising that I was close to the bottom, I had to stretch to reach her upturned palm as the steps flattened out, and then almost tumbled forward as the escalator disappeared beneath the concourse.

Even if I had gone ass over tea kettle, I would still have been smiling at the exchange I overhead on the first return leg of the journey. Seated behind me on the way home were a clutch of lads in their early teens. Two sitting, one standing. All part of a large group spread around the front half of the carriage.

I was happy watching the countryside rush past the window while dipping into the reference book, oblivious to them until I heard:

Lad 01: “Where’s Poland?”
Lad 02: “In the Mediterranean.”
Lad 03: “No it’s not. It’s in Europe near Russia.”
Lad 01: “So where’s the Caribbean? I thought the Caribbean and the Mediterranean were together.”
Lad 03: “The Mediterranean’s south of Europe. Italy’s near the Mediterranean!”
Lad 03: “How are you doing on Lego Star Wars?”
Lad 02: “I’ve completed it. But not one hundred percent.”



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