I am on my first of many, many trains. For the time being, this means my stomach has stopped going all flipped. I have my passport. I have a lot of chocolate (host gifts). I have what I think is probably just enough money in the bank.
I suspect I have too much stuff, but I also have a bag that is bigger than it looks, Mary Poppins style. There was a plan to do a big post on packing and how I conquered it, but I don’t feel I actually conquered anything – just barely managed more like. Perhaps once I’ve been away a few weeks I’ll hit my stride with being master of my luggage. For now I just hope I put everything in sensible places.
I’ve loaded my Kindle up with stuff, which I’m quite excited about. And in my first hour on the train I got through the third quarter of a book I started reading IN THE SUMMER. I’ve not had that kind of idle time since then. I am perhaps disproportionately excited about this.
Here’s what’s in store so far:
- Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain – Oliver Sacks
- Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Everest Disaster – Jon Krakauer
- The Once and Future King – T.H. White
- Sunset Song (A Scots Quair) – Lewis Grassic Gibbon
- Natural Born Heroes: The Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance – Christopher McDougall
- Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia – David Greene
The book I’m finishing is Trumpet by Jackie Kay, and I also have War and Peace and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because of course I do.
Edinburgh has gone mild on the weather for the past few days, which has provided a good few late-night walks home, Arthur’s Seat and the Crags silhouetted against the clear, nearly-full-moon-lit sky. I’ve eaten and drank in the best pubs in the city. I’ve danced with all my friends. I’ve had lots of cake. Mim has already won future flatmate of the century by rescuing me with a functioning washing machine two days before I left. Kristina bought me the most stylin’ wooden Scandinavian travel mug in the city. I had a good cuddle with a puppy before leaving the keys on the table.
There is nothing here to stay away from. It’s much easier to leave when you have all of that to come home to.
But just to give me a little shove on my way, once I got to Waverley, the heavens opened up and dumped all the water they could find. I narrowly escaped a soaking, but being in the station was like going through a car wash in a car with a very high, zigzagged sunroof.
I suspect that’s Edinburgh being all ‘I’ll bust out the good stuff when you come home, now eat your overpriced M&S salad and git outta here.’
So I’m on my way. I ate my overpriced salad and then enjoyed an equally overpriced cup of train tea while watching England roll by in the low winter sun. Then I FINISHED that book.
I did try to post this from the train, but I’d like to point out that Virgin Trains were offering fully free WiFi in standard class today. For the ridiculous reason that it’s Black Friday, which has been adopted by the UK for, I don’t know, Capitalism. I have so many issues with this, including the fact that the WiFi basically was not working because I assume it wasn’t prepared to handle everyone using it for free. Whatever. At the very least, we could officially get in on Thanksgiving if they’re going to foist made-up American shopping holidays on us.
In any case, I can survive without interweb connections and resolved to upload later. I arrived at Kings Cross at 5 and it was already dark and a bit misty from the humidity of the rain outside. I walked nearly the full length of the platform since my carriage was at the back, which I kind of love because it gives me more time to think about Harry Potter, which I always do when I come in to Kings Cross.
In the books, the station is a sort of arena for transition and major decisions, which isn’t anything profound, but I do always think about it when I arrive or depart there. It certainly seemed even more appropriate today than it normally does.