Sunday 3rd June – I’m in situ on the Leeds To York Trans-Micklefield Express as I commence this literary odyssey.
It’s a locomotive that doesn’t provide the sartorial elegance of the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. Or indeed the scenic splendour of the Yorkshire Dales bequeathed by a sojourn on the Settle to Carlisle line. However, like all train voyages, the carriages bustle with interesting characters – Each one with their own existential story to tell.
Souls who stir my creative juices and turn people-watching into a challenge for my fictional penmanship. For instance, there’s a guy opposite unceremoniously troughing a burger the size of a small family car. What’s his tale? What behavioural indicators in his deportment or demeanour that provide a clue as to his current lot.
Well for a start off, the way he’s demolishing his food indicates extreme hunger, either that or he’s a product of the Man vs Food School of Graceless Dining. The last time I saw as much flying debris was watched an old war movie about RAF Bomber Command.
The middle-aged woman sat next to him looks ill-at-ease. I guess worrying about potential injury from gherkin ‘friendly fire’. Her angst displayed in the fact she’s utilising the Sunday supplement from her newspaper as a shield against the risks of collateral damage by burger.
Placed in the ‘aircraft style’ seating behind the burger eating geezer is a young lady who I’d class in her early 20’s. Barely removing her gaze from her phone façade, she types manically with her thumb; I imagine it to be a text conversation with her partner. An interaction including messages such as:-
“There’s a middle-aged bloke with a beard staring at me a few seats away. Flipping weirdo.”
“He’s also typing on his phone. The scruffy get is probably doing something lame like writing a blog about this train journey.”
“Make sure you meet off the train at York, and bring the police with you.”
The views while journeying by Trans-Micklefield Express from Leeds to York are predominantly those of fields, trees, with the occasional ‘B’ road snaking below a railway bridge. It’s a flat 20+ miles sojourn which could fool passengers into thinking they were crossing the west Europe lowlands of Belgium and the Netherlands…… Well it would until it stopped at the rural/suburban stations of Garforth, East Garforth, Micklefield and Church Fenton, anyway.
Sitting next to me, my wife Karen has just inquired as to today’s narrative topic.
“It’s about journeying by train to York……. Why’s that?” I questioned, as she ordinarily isn’t that interested in my literary meanderings.
“I hope you’re not using any swear words in it!” she puzzlingly affirmed.
“What makes you think I’d be swearing when writing about a journey by train to our county capital?” I sought to clarify.
“I’m just checking…… Someone complained to me the other day about your use of bad language in your blogs.” she responded.
“I hardly ever swear in my monologues, Karen…… What you on about?” I queried, completely bemused at my spouses accusation.
“Enid told me last week you used the word flange!” my betrothed retorted firmly.
“Is flange actually a swear word?……. Anyhow, who the bloody hell is Enid?!” I questioned, still bemused.
“She’s chairperson of the Counter Obscene Conversation in Kippax Society.” Karen clarified.
“Well, even though I don’t recollect using the word, I’m offering no apologies…… After all an acronym of their group name is COCKS, which to my mind is far more controversial than my utilisation of the word flange.” I argued.
“Don’t shoot the messenger! …….. Seriously, some people are easily offended so be careful what your writing.” my wife opined.
“Hold on a minute….. Is that the same Enid who’s also on the committee of the Tingley and West Ardsley Trust?” I asked my wee missus.
“Yes….. Why?” Karen queried.
“Because if someone who’s on the committee of organisations whose acronyms are COCKS and TWATS disapprove of my language they can go and shove it up their Adel Recreation and Sport Enclosure!” I blustered.