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.