Four Trains & A Bus

I’m penning this literary offering in the English Lake District. An area of aesthetic charm bequeathed to the eye from it’s amalgam of rolling hills, quaint towns and some of our islands largest lakes south of Caledonia.

A domain of slate roofed properties, Kendal Mint Cake and the only area in England where cuisine on a la carte menus is delivered in baskets….. Even the soup!.

I’m a big fan of Kendal Mint Cake, but if it’s not your bag don’t worry, you can utilise if as a chalk writing implement. If you’ve not sucked the bar of mint cake, I’ll have it.

In the event you find it unpalatable, don’t require chalk and sucked the bar, fear not there are plenty of trash cans around. In the unlikely event you can’t locate a rubbish bin, do some thinking for yourself…… Don’t flipping rely on me all the time!


I’ve journeyed on public transport on a number of occasions recently, be that by the 166 bus into town, or via the magic of locomotive train. Odysseys that never fail to provide inspiration for these narratives.

A quirky saying or piece of idiosyncratic behaviour from follow passengers ordinarily the catalyst for my literary epiphanies from beyond the grave……. Well beyond Selby Road to be more accurate.

Yesterday’s odyssey to the Lake District required a bus journey and sojourns on no less than four different trains to navigate from my West Yorkshire metropolis home to Windermere ……. Actually, I think I’ve just inadvertently stumbled upon the title for today’s offering.

Journeying west from Leeds over the Pennines brought to mind poet William Blake’s prose in his 19th century sonnet ‘And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times‘. Words that were adopted in the rousingly patriot hymn ‘Jerusalem’ – A tribalistic anthem hijacked by, amongst other entities, the England cricket team. The two verses that sprung to mind were:-

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Although not necessarily relating  to the views witnessed on the trek from Leeds to Cumbria, the train ventured past numerous dark satanic mills akin to those of which Blake refers. Situated in hilly West Yorkshire towns sculpted into the Pennine Hills, these edifices formerly 19th century sweat shops born during the industrial revolution. Buildings whose decades of textile production contributed towards the overall synergy of Victorian Britain’s increased wealth and empire.

To the north west of  these towns are the green and pleasant lands of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Park. As with the dark satanic mills, I’ve no inkling if these are the specific locations Blake had in mind while penning the sonnet. However, the London born bard’s prose seemed to bear relevance to the sights I witness during my journey north west.

On this sojourn to Cumbria I sat next to a well spoken middle-aged lady who from her dress I’d guess was a business woman (she was wearing a t-shirt adorning the words ‘I’m a business woman’).

Eavesdropping on this lady’s high powered phone conversations was my ‘go to’ travelling pastime. I was particularly intrigued to know what the meaning of the numerous acronyms she utilised during her calls.

“Tell John we have to supply Atkinsons with six MPF’s by Monday.” 

“I can’t believe the HTL’s that Pembridges promised would be delivered in May still haven’t arrived. Ring Ed and tell him to get his finger out!”

“PLL’s aren’t as urgent as the PDL’s. We’ve plenty of them in stock so don’t worry about that.”

Just three of the instructions given to her secretary as we hurtled past the dark satanic mills and England’s green and pleasant land.

I had no idea what this lady field of employment was, but in the absence of possessing that knowledge, ie I didn’t ask her, I convinced myself the acronyms stood for the following:-

MPF’s – Malleable Pumpkin Farmers

HTL’s – Horticultural Tea-Chest Linings

PLL’s – Post Llama Litigation

PDL’s – Post Dromedary Litigation

I may be wide of the mark with my assumptions, however from the way the business lady’s conversations were developing I’m pretty sure my acronym conclusions are pretty likely to be factual.



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