Reading on the train

December 1 marked the start of the Advent candles and calendars.

I went searching for an anthology of advent poems I’d ordered last year. It arrived late, I hadn’t used it. I found it, together with the Advent candles bought in the January sales. I spent the day travelling north. I went to look at Christmas windows with daughter#3 on the last day of her maternity leave.

The morning train was quiet, I read the advent poem before turning to my book.

Travelling home, I hoped to finish the book club novel. It’s a short and happy book: The girl who reads on the metro. Albeit that the book is set in Paris, I enjoyed the meta-moment of reading a chapter or two on the Tyneside metro.

My train home left from platform 1. I’d not noticed before the strange layout of Central station. With little time to spare, I could see platforms 11 and 12 right in front of me and a sign to platforms 3 to 8 over the bridge. I had to guess that the Cross Country train beyond Costa and Boots was at platform 1.

The train was busy; I found a double seat, sat by the aisle to selfishly guard my privacy. As I opened my book, the woman across the aisle opened her mouth to speak. She was heading home, away from the trauma of a court case. As she left the train at the first stop, she thanked me for listening.

As I turned my eyes back to my book, a man crashed into the recently vacated seat. ‘That’s it, I’ve left. I’m not going back’ he said. He turned to me and asked: ‘You don’t mind if I talk, do you?’

He was travelling further south than me. I put my book aside.


5 thoughts on “Reading on the train

  1. Hi thisgranny, your piece just popped into my inbox and I was delighted to be reminded of Malcolm Guite whose wonderful poetry podcasts I came across during the first lockdown. His cosy study and accounts of WB Yeats meeting CS Lewis amongst other gems I think. I followed him but heard nothing more then forgot about him. Serendipity perhaps. Thanks I can now investigate further, along with your other recommendation that I didn’
    t write down darn it. See you Friday!


    1. I’m not sure that I should share the secrets of the confessional. What’s said on the train…
      Suffice to say, it sounded like he was leaving a tempestuous relationship. His story was told very much in his own favour!


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