Monday, January 05, 2015


It was a long train journey, starting in The Highlands and ending in London.
I spent almost the whole journey (eight hours) looking out of the window.
The highland mountains stood like heaps of flour, waiting for giant eggs to make a cake. Although it was sunny, the snow wasn't thick, so they didn't shine; they stood lumpily one in front of the other waiting for the shell of snow and frost that would invite the skiers up to Aviemore.

On a particularly bleak part of the moorland, a little wheelbarrow stood, desolate and abandoned in the scrubby, empty landscape. 'I tried!', it seemed to say. But there were no humans around to listen.
Further south, the fields were packed with pheasants cultivated the way that apples or cherries are cultivated in Kent, ready to be plucked from the skies with a minuscule ball of lead shot, bunched up and served to the Haw-Haws for dinner. Delicious!

Two cock pheasants fought in a field. Dip-up, dip-up, went their heads. A pathetic fight if ever there was one. Splendidly-coloured they shone in the winter sun; we sped past them and did not watch their display for long.
Beyond Stirling, the ploughed fields were striped with water-filled trenches that reflected the cold white sky.
Through the lowlands... in a bright green field of young beast, a bullock danced a crazy dance for no reason at all, kicking his heels and tossing his head: goodbye old year!

The North Sea snapped at the Borders, cold, navy blue and menacing. 'I eat ships', she snarled, heaving her massive weight from Norway to Scotland and back again.

Just outside York, I looked for the York Hares, but they weren't there; they must have been shivering in their harehouses or wherever it is they live.
Not much further south, the landscape changed from terraced cottages to huge warehouses built to the same scale as those Highland mountains and populated by tiny people driving fork lift trucks, moving the recession about from one corner to the other in a futile display of January energy.

And now I am home, living off my fat. I have stopped moving, my soul has caught up with me, and there are six undergraduate dissertations waiting to be marked tomorrow.

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