I sat on a train on Saturday for hours.
Cold beneath fearsome arctic air-con. Bored.
I texted home.
I AM ON TRAIN …. HEADED NNE…TROPICS DANGLY BUT WEATHER HOLDING….CAPTAIN HAS STIFFENED RESOLVE AND LOADED BULKHEADS WITH BAR SNACKS…..WITH GOD SPEED, SHOULD BE THERE BEFORE LENT.
This always happens when I mix coffee with chocolate with boredom.
How much coffee? Came the reply.
COFFEE CLINGS TO THE VERTIGINOUS SOUTH FACE OF EUSTON…HAVE HARVESTED AND ROASTED BEANS FOR JOURNEY…SKIPPER NAMED IT “BUNGALOW BEANS” AS SMALL AND SUITABLE FOR HOUSE BLEND.
This vein continued. I ran out of steam before the train did. It ploughed on and on. Through the Midlands. Through Cheshire. Onto the North Wales coast.
4 blokes jumped on, all bedecked in lycra pro team kits. The uniform of the recently converted.
Ay…..How much did we do today then? My A*se is killin’.
Not bad. It was a F***ing good ride that. Awesome. We’ll be doing that Paris thing in no time.
This was not a conversation amongst friends. It was an alcohol fuelled bit of bravado for everyone else’s benefit. The cyclist in me cringed. I cradled my face. A full 35 miles. Heroes no doubt.
They got off at Rhyl. The coach breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Watching the train rattle along the coastline I saw diner after diner, illuminated with neon lights and bedecked with images of food. An array of wind turbines whirred at the North Walean coast. I saw amusement parks. Occasional dog walkers. An esplanade. I wanted to leap out of the moving train onto a waiting bike and cycle away in a pastiche of a Western. Taste the sea air. Document the moment with my camera. Normally I love travelling by train. But always I hate travelling without bike.
Cardiff – Reading – London – Colwyn Bay. It was a very long day.