“Now here’s my idea. Why not keep the journey times the same but make the trains so comfortable and relaxing that people won’t want the trip to end? Instead, they could pass the time staring out the window at all the gleaming hospitals, schools, playing fields and gorgeously maintained countryside that the billions of saved pounds had paid for. Alternatively, you could just put a steam locomotive in front of the train, make all the seats inside wooden and have it run entirely by volunteers. People would come from all over the country to ride on it. In either case, if any money was left over, perhaps a little of it could be used to fit trains with toilets that don’t flush directly on to the tracks.”
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
A knock at the door. Lights on. We sat up, bleary-eyed. 03h30.
A black-leather-jacketed Romanian border guard stood at the open door of our train compartment.
“Pașapoarte!” We handed them over.
A welcome fresh breeze played into our 2 person compartment from an open window in the corridor. Old soviet trains are seriously over heated in winter.
“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Guest: “What exactly is in this soup?” Me: “It’s pumpkin soup.” Hubby (encouraging): “It’s an early spicy pumpkin soup.” Guest: “Unusual taste.” Me: “Yes. I’m afraid something went wrong. You don’t have to eat it.”
It was almost a case of ‘Nyamazela-at-the-Church-do-with-the-pumpkin-soup’.
“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.”
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
One of the enduring memories of my childhood is lying on the back seat of our family car, in the still cool dark hours of pre-dawn, still in my pyjamas, toe to head with my brother, and wrapped in a blanket, listening to my parents quietly chatting to one another, as I dosed and they drove.
It’s a peaceful memory, filled with potential and promise. Early morning. Pad kos. The open road.
Note: I don’t do early mornings. I love my sleep. To this day, I’m only really prepared to get up early for a road trip. .. and the promise of tea.