On the Train

This journey came about a little over a week ago when my father was admitted to hospital – my brother travelled down from the north to stay with them this week – I’m taking over for the next week – doing chores, cooking meals, making cups of tea, listening to stories, and helping in any way I can.

Fingers crossed, the journey has been uneventful so far. Trains have been on time, and connections have been as predicted. The journey would have been swift if not for engineering works along the way necessitating a “replacement bus service” for an hour of the route. I still have that hurdle to come – in an hour or so.

At Reading station I found myself with half an hour between trains so sought out a quiet waiting room – partially filled with people quietly reading books or with their noses buried in phones. They were all socially distanced, and all wearing face masks. That story changed when a train full of travelling football fans arrived that had been drinking all morning (I encountered them at 9:30am). None of them had face masks, and many of them were already drunk. Several of those I encountered were carrying plastic bags full of beer bottles. It doesn’t paint a great picture of football, does it.

It’s at times like these I’m glad my daughters play rugby. That said, our youngest received tickets for Christmas to watch England Ladies play later in the year – thankfully the experience of visiting their games is nothing like watching the mens team. The stadium will be filled with families, and few if any armies of neanderthal lunatics.

I still have an hour to go on this part of the journey. I packed the Kindle, the Fire tablet, and a paper book. I will not get bored. I’ve been reading “The Circle” by Dave Eggers recently – that was made into a truly awful movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson a few years ago. The book is a LOT better than the movie so far. I’ve also got the follow-up book “The Every” to read. If you’ve not heard of them, go search them out – just don’t watch the movie.

If I get through both books I also have “Snowcrash” waiting in the wings. I started reading it last summer but didn’t get very far – my main recollection was that the author tried far too hard in the first few chapters, but then settled down into a readable story. I hate it when writers do that – try to appear clever, or wordy, or impenetrably “hip”. They invariably let the mask slip after a while and their true voice, or style comes through, but it’s terrible hard going until you get through their attempt to piss the highest.

Anyway. This post has gone on for far too long already. I’ll attempt to post this in a few minutes via the sporadic mobile internet connections the train is hurtling through.

Wish me luck!

7 replies on “On the Train”

Safe travels! Do you not have mask mandates anymore in England?

In Canada we aren’t allowed on any train (or plane) without a mask and proof of vaccination. Being indoors you must wear a mask as well or you can be fined by police.

Liked by 1 person

Yep – wearing a mask right now – not mandated any more, but encouraged. If you don’t wear them, everybody pretty much presumes you’re an ignorant asshole.


😅 that is what is presumed here as well! Although I work at a school for students with exceptionalities and some can’t wear them for medical or sensory reasons. So I do understand if some people can’t, but my first thought when I see someone not wearing it is judgement haha

Liked by 1 person

I wish you a continued uneventful journey. When we took the train from Milan to Venice, we encountered a group of drunken American soldiers. It was miserable and embarrassing. I cannot imagine how much worse it would feel with the current health situation.

Liked by 1 person

Hoping all goes well!

Here in South Africa, we are not allowed to go anywhere without a mask – it is law… if you leave your house, you need to be wearing your mask. People can actually get arrested if they go without! It has become such a habit for me now that sometimes I forget to take it off when I get home! Ha ha ha!


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