Thursday, 26 February 2009

Journey To Remember

This post might be a little long-winded.

(Pic. is a little unrelated: scurry pony I watched while waiting for my friend this morning).

Years and years ago I saw a film that I found fascinating in many ways. It was about two young people travelling somewhere on the same train in between countries. Both students on holiday. They only met on that train and due to some problems with it they had to change for another, then wait for a few days etc etc for yet next one and so their journey lasted a few days.
The whole film is basically a set of fantastic conversations in between these two young people, sometimes funny, sometimes wise, sometimes just right down silly. Beautifully written and although might seem somewhat boring it was everything but.
There is this scene in the film when he asks her if a seat in front of her is taken, she says no, he sits down and says something alike: 'I don't normally chat to strangers on trains but...' blah blah.
(They become best friends by the way, it's not one of those movies when characters have to get married and live happily ever after).

SO Anyway...

I am sitting on train tonight. It's a four seats with a table kind of seat, all other seats are free. On my right but slightly behind there is someone with a very unsettled dog making lots of noise.
Then I hear someone asking: 'Do you mind if I sit here?'. I look up and there is this old man in a long coat with a massive cage housing a massive white cat.
I say no I don't mind so he sits down, massive cage with a massive white cat taking another seat.
The train moves and the man says: 'I don't normally talk to strangers but I've been on trains since the very morning and I am incredibly bored'.

A bit unusual or what?!!!!

It gets better. Cue me sitting in my baseball cap, a hoodie on, a book and generally being 'the last thing I want is to talk to you' character. So I say nothing and just smile politely but (hopefully) dismissively.
Obviously not doing well as the man proceeds to ask me what book am I reading - well, it's de Kunffy's book on horses - so of course then he asks why do I read about horses etc
And then he says: 'That dog behind us is rather loud. I would not take him to a desert island with me'.
I am thinking: '?????????????????????????????????????? oh god, I will have to put up with this for the next half an hour' but say nothing.
Man says: 'What if this train was to stop just once to pick up just a handful of people and things for you to take to a desert island, would you know who to call and what to bring?'.
.....Because that is what you ask a fellow passenger on a 30 minutes journey on a First Great Western train...
And so because I am feeling a bit sad in general and because this whole situation is a bit surreal anyway I give in and say: 'I think I would take that poor dog'.
He laughs a bit and says 'What, just this dog, don't you have a boyfriend and friends you want to take with you?'.
He says it with such genuine surprise that I have to smile. 'So how many people am I allowed to take?' I say laughing.
Man looks like he's thinking and says 'Up to four'. So I list three and add 'I will take the dog as a fourth one anyway'. He laughs again, asks me some questions about the people I chose and then says 'oh yes, my cat goes with me everywhere, just in case my wife decides she doesn't love me anymore'. We both laugh. 'I will take the dog with me for a similar reason' I say.
Then we move to things and again apparently I have to pick four. That's actually a bit harder, can't really think of anything. In the end I settle for a sun cream and two books (one being some sort of survival guide - got to have one don't you) to amuse the old man.
Then he proceeds with some more questions in similar vein. I laughed out loud at this one: 'The train has just crashed, now, and you have to tell someone that you are not allowed to leave the wreck for 24 hours'.

Believe me it was one of the most peculiar journeys I have ever had! In the end he told me he is a writer and likes talking to people and hearing their answers!

You know, there are 3 things I will miss when I start driving to work: the sound of the train moving, the unusual characters I sometimes meet while travelling and the stupidly long hours of waiting at stations in a company of my dear friend who drives me to them.

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Last minute super news: Hamlet got all clear from vet today and I am going to ride him next week!
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