All of you who read my blog will no doubt have noticed my countdown clock with its gleeful announcement of an impending weekend with my little vampire. I have been excitedly counting down the days to a trip to London to see THE most special person in the world, my best friend Jay. Packing was done and undone,then done again. Clothes strewn across every single spare inch of space as i ummed and ahhed about what to take with me and changed my mind yet again.The result was probably far more than i needed but i am someone who likes to be prepared for every eventuality.
What can i say i’m a girl, this is the norm for someone like me!!
So Friday arrives and in true Amanda style i was at the station far too early, clutching my ritual coffee and determinedly forcing myself to sit in my seat in a composed and ladylike manner when all i really wanted to do was bounce up and down in my seat shrieking with glee. I behaved, i was most grown up and firmly squashed my inner child although the huge grin on my face would not be removed and a gentleman passenger rather startled beamed back at me, believing himself to be the recipient of it.
Half an hour later i was cursing myself for not obeying my first instinct to get into the quiet zone as children ran screeching up and down the carriage, parents totally oblivious to the antics of their offspring. Increasing the volume on my ipod did little to drown out the noise and i willed the train to go faster and the parents to consider other passengers and curb the rowdiness. My eyes widened as i surreptitiously observed the family at the adjacent table, mother, father and three very young children, noting each time a child became overly noisy he would be handed food to quieten him which was very frequent. I was slightly alarmed at the copious amounts of food consumed by those small boys and wondered perhaps if the parents could not have thought of a better way to occupy their children.
To say i was glad to leave the train was a little of an understatement and i thankfully hopped from it to the hustle and bustle of Clapham Junction. Here begins the culture shock for the town where i live is very sleepy and rural and the most uneventful of places, predominantly white and so totally removed from the multicultural rush, rush rush of the city. A dozen languages swirled around me as people rushed by totally aware of anyone else and all in such a hurry to be somewhere. A far cry from the slow pace in which i usually live i absorbed it all, watching in fascination as it all wove its way around me.
I wonder if i was so very obvious, being such a fish out of water although i was far from lost. Trains are a part of my everyday life and to locate my connection was barely a second thought but i did wonder if my very ruralness stood me apart from those city dwellers around me. Were the second glances merely appreciative ones or did i really stand out as being an out of townie?? I shall never know although the woman in me would prefer the former. So as my connection rolled in and i scrambled with the rest to climb aboard i firmly crossed my legs and tried to ignore a pressing need for a bathroom. Of course i could have gone on the train but i was loathe to leave my luggage unattended and more importantly i was rather afraid of missing my stop.
Houses sailed by as fast as the miles and yes by now i was probably earning the label of tourist as my head turned in all directions taking it all in. So many high rise buildings!! Not a common sight where i live at all. Double decker buses and black cabs so alien a sight yet i felt such delight at seeing them and firmly decided that i was liking this lively place, a most welcome change from the slow moving day to day life i usually lead.
As the train rolled into the station and i waited to alight i couldn’t help but think that we take our surroundings for granted and only really notice it when it is seen through the eyes of someone else. Do city folk see it as i did and feel such a child like excitement at such a carousel of activity.
I loved the whole time in the city, it really captured me, the whole vibrant rush of it and at the end, as i neared my home, i did wonder how city people would see the little town where i return to. Sleepy? Beautiful? I wonder what would you see??