Currently on the train, en route to London. I managed to score a seat in First Class on this trip, which is a great bonus. For those who haven’t sampled the Great British Train Experience, First Class means more legroom, complimentary food and patchy wi-fi, and, perhaps most importantly, a significant drop in the probability of you having to share a carriage with a table-load of Geordie lads who drink steadily, and with gradually increasing volume, from Newcastle to London. I was trying to craft that sentence in such a way that it didn’t make me sound like an effete snob. I think I failed.
Sadly the sandwich choices on this trip are not quite to my taste (when are they ever?), but I have been tucking in to the complimentary crisps and Coke. And shortly after each stop at a station, a nice man comes round offering complimentary bad coffee. But that’s a mistake I only made once.
It’s been a fun few weeks back in the UK. Two weeks in London gave me plenty of time to catch up with the family and, with unflaggingly enthusiastic assistance from my 3 year old nephew, burn off some of the energy I’ve acquired from 3 months of ‘resting’. Then over the last week in Edinburgh I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with many old friends. Inevitably I didn’t have time to see everyone I wanted to, which makes this departure feel slightly premature. I did, however, see Wiseman on three separate occasions, so that particular itch has been well and truly scratched.
There are many differences between the UK and the US, and I realise that I highlight them in my blog ad nauseam. But let me just mention the weather. It’s better in Tennessee. Some might say “it’s just different” but I would say it’s better. Even though the temperatures in Nashville and, say, London are probably not dissimilar right now, there’s a dampness in the air here which makes the cold cling to your bones in a disappointingly consistent fashion. Of course, in Edinburgh, you need to factor in the wind chill as well, which cuts a few more degrees off the ‘feels like’ temperature. It was in this context, a returning son grown accustomed to sunnier climes, that I feel I had a justifiable right to feel aggrieved about my mother’s decision to switch the heating off. My protests were dismissed with an airy wave of the hand and some comment resembling “if you got up and moved around you’d stay warm.”
It’s hard to text on an iPhone when your extremities have gone numb, but, from beneath a number of blankets, I managed to fire off an SOS text to my sister. Her response I do not recall exactly, but am confident included the words “big jessie”. She seemed to relent later and suggested I phone Childline. She even provided the number, so quickly, in fact, that I suspect she might have it memorised.
At least here in First Class, no heating expenses are being spared. An orange rolled off the table of the nice lady across from me and was heading in the direction of the restaurant car, until I retrieved it for her. She was grateful. That has been the most hair-raising event of the journey so far. Let’s hope it stays that way 🙂