Train Noise

‘Your next station is Helsby.’

The man with the bike learns that Virgin is fierce about bike registration.

‘Your next station is Frodsham.’

The man with the bike is anxious about time.

‘We might be early, at Warrington,’ he says, to another passenger,

‘We could be early,

Or at worst on time.’

He’s heading for Scarborough, where he will be in a hostel –

‘An evening meal and a breakfast,’ he says.

At Warrington I see him shuffling from end to end, anticipating the order of coaches.

A nice woman with the Daily Mail (‘not a paper men approve of,’ she says)

Talks of her family, in Kent and Birmingham, gathered in Lakeside to meet her.

At Haymarket, Edinburgh, I join another train.

‘That must be a stadium,’ says wife to husband,

Looking at an evident stadium.

‘Next stop is Leushers,’ says the man.

‘It’s called Leuchers, with a ‘cuh’,’ says a boy of twelve.

At Dundee a beautiful young woman leaves the train, my life no part of her expectant life.

‘Your next station is Arbroath,’ says the system.

A twelve year-old girl (I guess) lounges with her budding breasts, and slacks

Below her bum crease, as I read of paedophiles in Ian McEwan,

And have some sympathy, though not without guilt.

An austere gentleman joins us, reading

‘The Seed of the Mediator: Galatians’,

In The Climax of the Covenant.

He keeps to himself and ignores the to and fro niceties.

Behind me, plum eloquently, on mobile phone:

‘The man is a disgrace;

Reprehensible, cowardly.

The matter will lead to either ombudsman or court proceedings.’

Lives as strange as the coast, that doesn’t care, on a journey that no

Biker, Mail reader, tourist, local lad, lovely young woman, lovely too young girl,

Presbyterian or jobsworth litigant will remember.


Derek Alsop