open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like


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A Journey in the Dark

“There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it.”   – H. G. Wells ‘The Time Machine’ (1895)

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It was a dark time of year. Here in the Northern Hemisphere we’d just passed the Winter Solstice and the nights were about the longest they could be. The weather, although not seasonably cold, was fairly grim too. I could think of better things to be doing with a stormy Boxing Day evening than sitting for eight hours on a bus from London Heathrow to the bottom of my road in my Cornish hometown.

Night travel is different. There is a sense of dislocation induced by the surrounding darkness. Continue reading

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Pemberley by Accident

With the road atlas spread out in front of us, I put the finishing touches to the set of complex instructions that my friend and I would have to follow the next morning as we headed south, attempting to avoid a) getting ourselves lost, b) driving into another quarry, and c) Manchester. Despite having looked forward to Yorkshire so much it had not turned out quite as we’d expected. We’d been on the road about two weeks already, and the day’s events had had a somewhat dispiriting effect on us.

‘I hope the Peak District’s good. Derbyshire’d better be better than Yorkshire anyway or I think we might have to just drive straight home.’

With the mention of Derbyshire, there were many ideas connected. It was impossible for her to see the word without thinking of Pemberley and its owner.

‘Of course it’ll be good,’ I replied confidently, ‘Mr Darcy lives there!’

 

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Under Londerground

Anyone outside of London who has not logged in to Google today may not have realised that it is the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Then again almost every website I’ve visited has had some sort of Tube related slideshow, top ten, or did you know going on so, I thought, why not jump on the band waggon, or perhaps slip through the air-powered sliding doors of the red and white carriage (the last manual doors on the Tube were phased out as long ago as 1929, didn’t you know) and pull up a long overdue Underground blog post whilst it might be deemed mildly topical.

When writing about place you inevitably end up discussing travel, and whilst roads and railways are by definition very placeless the London Underground has a very definite sense of identity, not least its graphical-visual one exemplified by Harry Beck’s 1933 map which has become a cultural icon both for the Tube itself and for London. Continue reading


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Paper Trains

Six days.

Three rail journeys.

A thousand and one thoughts from here to there to here and back again.

Two thousand words, fourteen hours and twenty three minutes.

Sometimes I sit thinking on trains.

Tuesday. On the train again. I get out my notebook to write down what I see, and to reflect on what I’ve experienced during the train journeys of the past few days. It’s a long way from Reading to Par. That’s a lot of landscape and a whole lot of thoughts in four hours. Continue reading