Thursday, June 25, 2009

Postcard from the Pendolino


I've been a regular on the train between Birmingham and London recently. The Pendolino cuts a high-speed slice through the middle of England, leaning as it rounds the bends. Should I attempt to read, the velocity and jolting make me nauseous. So I gaze out the window at the glimpses of life the panoramic windows display, the soundtrack from the wheels a white noise pitched just too high to ignore.

Anglers drop their lines into lakes, horses and their riders cut across fields and canal boat dwellers take a more sedate journey through the countryside. Into towns, and the land by the tracks is shared between industrial units and housing crammed in painfully close to the rails. A few moments, and I'm back in the country where a Land Rover is mobbed by sheep looking for lunch. Makes more sense than the craziness of car parks – empty, but for one car parked just off centre.
The stations we don't stop for pass in a blur of lights and platforms where solitary passengers are left standing for the next train. Then my field of vision adjusts to widescreen once again as the foreground detail becomes irrelevant compared to the deep vista of woods and hills. Until the buildings appear again and we zoom past factories with advertising claims: you have to go a long, long way to bake a better biscuit. Perhaps a little further than Watford Junction.

3 comments:

Timberati said...

Sounds quite similar to my experience with the Shinkansen, from Tokyo to Kyoto & back. You might try some noise-canceling headphones. The Maxell are good and under $100US, so they might fit your budget.

postcardsfromk said...

Is it just me, or does the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto sound so much more appealing than the Virgin Pendolino from Birmingham to London?

Timberati said...

A Virgin Pendolino sounds exotic to me. Familiarness dulls one's enthusiasm. I suppose if I owned a house on the coast of the Pacific Ocean I might be blasé about the waves at sunset..."Ho hum, beautiful...what's for lunch?"