Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The train drew up there unwontedly.

Great Railway Journeys I have done (2)
I would have loved some unscheduled stops because of the heat but these days we have Air conditioned carriages even on the (now bankrupt )National Express trains.
I have done the journey from York to Kings Cross hundreds of times, and feel I know every copse and clump of buildings. I don't of course. In my mind I have an impression of the landmarks I have come to appreciate over forty years of frequent travel.
There are catagories in which to pigeon hole my rail rambles to London and all stops beyond.
Travelling For
  • Funerals-expensive journeys, tickets bought on the day, usually a day when you cant afford a bus down the road.Have to set out before 9.30 so cheap day return null.
  • Quick day trip to visit relation in hospital. Cheap ticket-bought just in advance.
  • Quick day trip to visit London Gallery. Same tariff as above
  • Well organized visit ,planned in advance for stay of few days with progeny(Sussex) , taking in Galleries and the Kings Road whilst crossing London with bus pass. Using Senior railcard online ,cheaper than a meal in the Saachi Mess.
  • Very well organized Progress with spouse. Abroad via Eurostar, or to Heathrow, taking full advantage of days to visit progeny,Galleries, Brighton and Aged Relations. Senior RC online again, maybe night or 2 in YHA St Pauls .
For the Ist 25 yrs of my North /South and back travels they were in fact South/North and back. The journeys are the same however , as these days even very clever forward planning soes not guarantee the direction of your seat . This may be confusing , I might have travelled on the LHS facing Edinburgh more times when travelling South than I have travelled facing Edinburgh travelling North. This might have informed my acute observation of all the sandstone outcrops at Doncaster.
Many more details of my journey may be found in another blog where I am an occasional blogger. The post is called 'Down but not out'
This journey was on an Adlesdrop day. It was indeed late June. The sides of the tracks were never so covered with wild flowers. The fields from York to the Home Counties were at their most interesting for this errant botanist. The great sight of the three Power Stations after York, before Doncaster always amazes me .
This day the dash of red gave a surreal look to the fields.
And so to that threatened Pastime. I just cannot think why bureaucracy threatens that most innocent of anorak pastimes 'trainspotting'. I always like to spot trainspotters on my rail journeys, and Doncaster is one of the best places to spot these most solitary and educated of (mostly) men. A noble hobby, a chance for members of families to have breathing space as Son or Dad takes the 04.00 to Doncaster via Leeds, returning on the 23.41.
I tried to remember location of the grove of Silver Birches on the east side of the line and south of a city Doncaster or is it Peterborough , the former I'm sure. Picture next time. And then that church sitting all on its own , no village or houses to be seen. A remnant from a medieval deserted settlement possibly. This June the Barley is nearly ready and gold and ripe looking, my pictures do not show the shimmer and the promise of each field.
Serious plant hunters like myself spot the many delights from train windows by the track . This month is the turn of Dog Roses, Toadflax, Orchids, Oxe-eye daisies .Queen Annes Lace has given way to Hogweed, Red Campion nearly over has given way to Red Valerian clinging on in the embankment walls. Buddleias are beginning to identify themselves, deep purple or pale mauve what will they be? Horsetails annoy and then the Giant Mullein promises to grow 5 'high and astound the bees. I spotted your welcome whorls.
London does not disappoint. It is so hot the city gents are not discernable,in shorts and open neck shirts. City gentesses are still in their pin striped suits in case they are not taken seriously enough, and everyone is carrying bottles of Evian.
A cooling break on the Ist Capital Connect platform- Oh! the ease here, lifts and walkways and electronic displays-there'll be no getting lost here. The next part of the journey is like being in an episode of Psychoville. Weird Mobile phone conversations need a translator, women are applying nail varnish to their toes on a moving train, young men roam in search of a discarded newspaper they have not yet read and I try to take pictures from the window. They all stare (covertly) at me now. I have become the odd one. I am actually the only over 60 female without dyed hair in London too. London Bridge and the railsides are fascinating from here to East Croydon where they become mundane again and I have to rely on the flora until Worth Abbey and the railbridge near the Cowdray Arms.
Next time I am going to concentrate on the Supermarkets seen from the train between York and Sussex. Counting Waitroses makes me realise that there are more in the South. This is not fair. This is the North /South secret Divide.
If you are wondering about the Header picture , please send all guesses to the Kings Cross Travel Centre. I think it is a Tumble drier, but not absolutely sure.

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