Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Goin’ to the End of the Line!

 Well it’s alright, everything will work out fine, well it’s alright, we’re goin’ to the end of the line…maybe someday down the road a-ways (at the end of the line) you’ll think of me and wonder where I am these days…

OK so The Travelling Wilburys probably weren’t referring to the East Coast Rail when they wrote that song, but today, I am riding to the end of the line! Edinburgh Waverley to London Kings Cross, to be precise. I have a meeting this afternoon, and I usually go by plane, but the flight times weren’t very good, and as my boss is out of the office, so I’m going by train this morning and back by train tomorrow.
Edinburgh Waverley-London Kings X

Travelling by train is such the norm for people in the UK and Europe. Trains are fast, (mostly) efficient, and easier than flying. You are taken from cit centre to city centre, no need to book it out to Edinburgh airport or schlep it on the tube for an hour into London. I say trains are mostly efficient because sometimes they get delayed, or cancelled, or other such nonsense that irregular travelers handle with panic and regular travelers handle with aplomb.
My train got cancelled this morning. I was supposed to leave at 8 am, arriving in London at 12:45, leaving plenty of time to get to my meeting at the Royal College of Physicians London at Regent’s Park. Now, I will be arriving around 1:45 for my 2:00 meeting, and will have to grab a cab to Regent’s Park so I’m not late. Oh well. Such is life.

Well it’s alright, Remember to live and the live, the best you can do is forgive …

One plus to the train is that you get some nice views. Living in the middle of a city, even a small as Edinburgh, you start to miss the wide-open spaces and views of nature. The English countryside is quite flat, green, and welcoming. Today, as I roll along down the East Coast, there is a light fog resting over the hills, melding into the North Sea, blending the grey sea and grey water-heavy air into a thick blanket of cotton wool, so you almost forget that the edge of the earth is even that close. Then we move inland from Berwick-upon-Tweed*, and small copses of scraggly trees pop up ever half mile, seemingly random gatherings across the countryside. The fog follows, creeping it’s fingers through the leafless trees, but not quite obscuring the fresh green grass, holding in it’s tiny stalks the promise of spring, another six weeks away.
Entmoot in action over to the left? Also, please note the boy sleeping in the reflection...haha

The tree gatherings remind me of the Entmoot in the Lord of The Rings, Twin Towers**. If these trees met together to talk, I imagine they would sound like some of the most notable of Brits: A willowy but strong Dame Maggie Smith, a charming yet bald-topped Patrick Stewart, a stalwart, deep-rooted Brendan Gleeson, a straight-standing Colin Firth, a roguish and leaning Rupert Everett, and a slightly skewed but beautiful Helena Bonham-Carter.

What would this Brit-Entmoot discuss you ask? Probably the news from their various corners of the UK and Ireland, and the controversial new development of a possible high-speed line between Birmingham and London, cutting through some of the most pristine land left in England.

“Luckily”, Maggie would say in her clipped Scots drawl, “Scotland still has the monopoly on natural beauty in the UK.”

True story, Dame M! Way to represent for the Scots!

As you can tell, the mind wanders on the train…Especially since East Coast Rail has cancelled the unlimited wireless service that they used to have. Probably a good thing overall, but it means that I am unable to get any work done….ah well! Instead I am listening to the family next to me discuss the horrors of Facebook and Twitter (I agree, for the most part, but would be lost from so many people without Facebook!)

The sun is failing to break through the fog and there is still a gentle haze, like a soft focus lens covering the countryside, allowing the meandering streams, soft rolling hills, quaint towns, and spindly trees to retain some of their mystery as the behemoth train charges through their territory, ripping the air open with a roar of the engine and the rhythmic clack of the wheels on the tracks.

Well it’s alright even if the sun don’t shine, well it’s alright, we’re going to the end of the line!

Update: My train got into London 15 minutes late. Making me late to my meeting. So stick with your cars, America.  These trains are only good for a casual trip through the countryside and the occasional Ent Moot spotting.

Hasta luego,


*pronounced “Berrick” 

** An Entmoot is a meeting of the Ents, or treeherders, to discuss very important things (AKA the attack of Isengard/War against Saruman.) Don't judge me! :-) 

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