Dulltown, Europe: Today’s outside temperature is 285 degrees Kevin.
I suppose it’s an addiction.
I try to keep away from it for at least a month or so, but eventually, some afternoon, mooching around the supermarket, its bright gold or silver wrapper, and its chunky block-like shape catches my eye – butter…
Fairly late last night I had a couple of generous slices of hot toast dripping with golden fatty butter… I wonder if it has the same effect as cheese, in provoking restless nights and mad dreaming?
So here it is, jotted down an hour or two ago, fresh from the pillow:
It was a very large and high-roofed clanking Victorian railway station.
‘What about a train to London? The London train?’
‘There is one at 9 am, it’s the only one. It’s gone.’
‘Thank you…’ I say.
I stare at the great curving steel arches, yards and yards above. Sunlight is streaming in and beating noisily down on the dusty platforms at the far end where the rails curve away for distant places.
The official pointed, ‘You can get that one there, change at Sheffield, if you like. Come on, follow me, you’ve only got ten minutes.’
We quickly walked along… the train was made up of many carriages, all painted different dull colours and shades. It started pulling out just as we approached; time had unexpectedly jumped to the crack of 1 pm.
Of course I had with me my bulky, badly folded, winter-weight duvet; I had intended to get rid of it on the train (the summer was approaching) but I was now stuck with the thing!
It was a lovely bright day; the official pointed to a slight rise to the side of the tracks, it had pink and orange houses built on it.
He spoke, ‘There’s a branch of Screwfix just over that side – you can easily get there and back before your next train.’
I was having trouble with the knee-pad pockets on the legs of my work trousers; instead of rubber pads they had pieces of beige card and folded up utility bills in them.
‘Did you say a branch of B&Q?’ I asked.
With my duvet tucked under my left arm we walked back down into the great curved iron station. It was gloomy and dank, and it was the set from a Sherlock Holmes TV episode.
The official, now a woman, remarked in a whisper, ‘The town is suffering from drawback – see, all the empty shops…’
In the dirty Victorian alley – an arch of crumbling bricks, the entrance to a passage, leading to a narrow snicket, yellow gas light was raking dramatically across the greasy dark brickwork; ne’er-do-wells slouched, smoking blackened clay pipes, street girls in bulging tops and big wide coloured skirts, caked makeup, and shiny red lips that smiled without warmth. Clop, clop, clop – there goes a hansom cab…
Look, a dingy shop with a tiny small paned front window; see, postcards on display, all old, yellowed, and delicately decal-edged. I took my little camera out – the shot won’t be very sharp, it is so very dark down here. Bugger! This passageway is so full of people – I can’t step back to get a good composition. ‘Oh, sorry Miss, did I step on your foot?’ Now, hang on, where the hell has my duvet gone? Good, I don’t need to put it on the London train any more – speaking of trains, what time is it now? …and what’s that annoying boom-boom-boom-thud sound? Is it another train coming in – or, is it the council truck dealing with the recycling bins? This is Thursday after all… I’d better get up and bring it in – people do occasionally steal them and scrape the house numbers off you know… It’s very warm in here – good god, is that the time?…