Forced change of plan
In my previous post I wrote about shattered plans, and forced diversions. Strange, as after having posted this, I was subject to just that as I travelled from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross by train, courtesy of London North Eastern Rail (LNER) at the start of my holiday several weeks ago. I had settled into my first class seat (purchased weeks before at a most agreeable price), enjoyed a cooked breakfast, and was well and truly stuck into making notes on my second set of novellas when the high speed service came to a sudden halt.
A lot more fun
Train after train roared past us, while there I sat, surrounded by tranquil Yorkshire countryside, wondering how late I would be arriving at my final destination. Eventually an announcement was made: some overhead cables had broken and two trains were stuck on the piece of railway track much further south, while the ones passing us were en route to places not affected by the problem. After quite a while we trundled slowly into York, the next station on the line. Here we got off our train and onto another, waiting at an adjacent platform – ironically the train which had left Edinburgh half an hour before ours! On this train first class was a lot less classy as there was standing room only and the train was not as new as the one I’d just got off. The onward journey proved to be, however, a lot more fun, as well as being financially beneficial.
Attitude was everything
Immediately a young guy offered me his seat. I thanked him kindly, but as he was wrapped up in some work on his laptop, I hadn’t the heart to disturb him. Fortunately a lady on the other side of the aisle alerted me to the fact that she was getting off at Doncaster, the next stop, and when she did I was able to sit down. Admittedly I was probably one of the older travellers on this train, and many people had to stand for a long way, knowing that all our fares would be fully refunded due to the delay, as was company policy. There were others on a tour, who’d had their ongoing travel plans disrupted, but instead of complaining, they all mucked in, shared each others’ seats when one became available, and exchanged happy conversations. Someone went to the buffet and brought back bags of crisps and bottled water, which he handed round, unbidden. Friendships were made, and one guy discovered that the total stranger, standing next to him, knew his best friend! Attitude was everything on this memorable journey, from which I learned a lot.
A better route
My note writing had been halted – there was no room to do it on this crowded replacement train. Instead I studied human relationships, an important task for any writer! I also passed through interesting places I hadn’t expected to, since the train was able to divert to a different track, powered by diesel instead of electricity. I’d like to visit them properly one day. And I learned a lesson: that out of misfortune comes good. Faith in humanity, discoveries, and a chance to reflect upon my writing so far, as I observed these things through a change of course. When, finally, I reached my ultimate destination in deepest rural Kent in the south east of England, I took a different tack with my writing notes, as new ideas had opened up to me, given my time away from it. As I wrote in another recent post, the journey always leads to the ultimate goal, if we keep our eye on where we’re headed, but sometimes takes a different route along the way. A better one offering a greater depth of experience.