Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Desperadoes Waitin' on a Train
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and she asked me what about England I missed most. I didn't have to think too long, oddly enough. If I'd had on my London Fog , it would have been instinctual to wrap it tightly around me, close my eyes and imagine myself there, at Beaconsfield Station. It's the trains I miss. You could go anywhere in that enchanted world on a train. It was the most wonderful sensation to stand on the platform and watch the train draw down out of the fog and pull up at your feet, the doors opening outward so you could climb aboard. I think that's why I love all the old English movies to this day, especially the Miss Marple stories. There's always a train ready to take you off into some romantic setting and there's always a mystery man just in the next car. It's the sound that invades the cocoon you share with others as the carriage clacks along the railroad tracks and the slight jostling that could put you into a light doze (or heavy sleep) if you're not careful. A train whistle announces a stop just up the line, the lovely scenery rushing by outside the train windows, slowing now, the train coming to a stop and people gathering their belongings together, ready to leap onto the station platform, shouts of "hallllooo" from friends gathered to greet them. There is something different about an English train. I can easily envision our trains being run down by deperadoes on horseback...Frank and Jessie James and their crew. I can not imagine any such indignity being visited upon an English train. The closest thing to a desparado waiting on a train would have been me and our two wild boys. I remember that my sons friends in the village were shocked that their mother could drive. I love to drive. It gives me a sense of freedom and control over my life unlike anything else. But while we lived there, we took advantage of the wonderful transportation system that is peculiar to Britain; Buses, trains ,bicycles, and of course planes ...but it was the train that I learned to love. I loved taking the train into London and getting off in Marylebone Station and looking up at the fretwork and glass overhead. I always fully expected to see Alfred Hitchcock or Cary Grant boarding another train , looking around to make certain they hadn't been seen, as we got off the train that had delivered us safely to our destination. A magical feeling would come over me each and every time. We have a saying, "you can't get there from here." But in Great Britain, there's a direct route to where ever you want to go. However you want to get there. But even yet , I'd take the train.