Friday, 20 January 2017

On a Train

OK, this happened last week but I have only really just processed it - read: recovered from various hangovers.

Last Thursday my friend and I got on the Caledonian Sleeper from Euston to the wilds of Scotland. This was the most bizarre train journey of my entire life. And I've been on the New Jersey Transit. That train is loud as shit and is American and is obviously naturally bonkers. America, huh.

It appears that the very concept of going to Scotland, in January, to see a band, and go for a walk is crazy, insane, interesting and comment-worthy. It aint. I once ate an ice cream in November during a thunderstorm. Know why? I fancied an ice cream. Do you think it wasn't commented on? The shopkeeper thought I was nuts, my friend thought I was some sort of free-spirited anarchist. It's not like I sent a manifesto to the Daily Mail explaining the truth behind the moon landings and how the world is really ruled by aliens. IS IT?

Any way, the point is: why not go to Scotland in January? To walk? And see a band? HUH?

This is why: Snow covers the ground and makes it impossible for you to know how firm the ground underneath is. Also, your friend leads you into a bog. Bog as far as the eye can see. Except you can't see it because of the snow. Because you are in Scotland in January. Long story short - we got stuck in a bog and I fell and now I am grateful that I don't live near a bog. Kilburn doesn't count as a bog.

The train though, the train. Firstly, I admit that I am obviously the kind of person who meets strangers on a train and gets drunk with them. Let's admit something here: I'm the kind of person who likes to get drunk with people. And trains are pretty cool. And it wasn't our intention to meet random people and drink their wine. Look, if someone is going to buy you a drink the least you can do is drink it and entertain them with your witty conversation. And offer them cheese and crackers. It's the civilised thing to do. It's the human thing to do.

We ended up getting maybe 2 hours of sleep before KNOCK KNOCK on the cabin door and bleary-eyed we stumbled from the train, jumping with rucksacks and backpacks and heavy eyelids we followed Google maps to our Airbnb and went wrong somehow as we walked along an A road, climbed over a fence and stumbled down a snowbank. Still. We found the accommodation and I am heartened to report that I could totally survive on the streets in Birnam, a small town/village (I don't really know how big it is but there was an Arts Centre) as there's a little covered alleyway that I was totally prepared to sleep in. I'm not proud.

Mostly though I wanted to say that meeting a random stranger lady on the train has made me give pause to my current life narrative. She was a nice lady, attractive and jolly (and no, I don't mean 'fat') and generous with bottles of wine. She was nearing 40 (so not much older than me, really) and was single and happy about that. But was she? WAS she? Maybe she was but by goodness she seemed to have a lot of issues and she made me think: No, shit no, apart from having a kooky little shop in a kooky Scottish village (I'll admit that that made me jealous) her life is not the life that I want. I am not saying that I MUST have a boyfriend and that my life will be rubbish. I am saying that this wall needs to be removed. And that's what I learned on the train journey to Scotland.

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