And for that minute, a blackbird sang...

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Thread: And for that minute, a blackbird sang...

  1. #1

    And for that minute, a blackbird sang...

    Today I read Adlestrop again, I say again, but it was just one of the many times I have read it; it resonates; I’m not sure exactly why, maybe it’s that it takes me back to a time that will never be again. I can almost smell the soot and steam of a country railway station, hear the squeal of cast iron on steel as the locomotive draws up, bringing with it an instant mist which shrouds the waiting passengers, quickly followed by the crash of carriage doors opening and closing. In my mind’s eye I see the guard, flag at his side, whistle to his lips, as he walks down the platform slamming shut doors left open, with a concomitant echo resounding through the station. Luggage stowed on the rack I sit and await the slowing cadence of chuffs as, iron on iron, the driving wheels struggle for grip accompanied by a concatenation of clanks as the couplings take up the slack, a movement quickly followed by the gentle oscillation of the carriages as the train settles into that old familiar rhythm. I remember gentle joy of releasing the leather strap on the carriage door, dropping the window and watching the world go by; we would wave to farmers cutting corn and bargees on the canal, call out to navvies working the embankments. On a longer journey, a walk down the corridor to the dining car, bouncing off the windows on either side - Steak and kidney pie followed by Jam Rolly-Poly with custard and, of course, coffee. Time was when travelling the railway was a proper journey not a frustration at the slowness of the Wi-Fi, the inadequacy of the sandwiches and the voluminous chatter of businessmen on phones trying to impress others with their relevancy. Time was…
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  2. #2
    Time was when you could go almost anywhere by train, not each in their own separate boxes. It's easy to be nostalgic, I remember the smell of the big stations, it seems nostalgic now, but to be honest it wasn't very nice. And there would be the occasional no smoking carriage. And those carriage doors took off fingers and dumped people on the track.

    Bet that was fun writing it though

    I did think that maybe you should have quoted the poem for those who do not know it, so here it is,

    By Edward Thomas

    Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
    The name, because one afternoon
    Of heat the express-train drew up there
    Unwontedly. It was late June.

    The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
    No one left and no one came
    On the bare platform. What I saw
    Was Adlestrop—only the name

    And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
    And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
    No whit less still and lonely fair
    Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

    And for that minute a blackbird sang
    Close by, and round him, mistier,
    Farther and farther, all the birds
    Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
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  3. #3
    I've been reading nineteenth century history for a while now, with frequent dips into original material. The grammar here sort of reminds me of that. Unabashed, I might call it; exultant in it's subtle finery. An age when telling people complicated stuff was the art. The vocabulary too, but not so much the words as the apparent care taken to make them settle down together fruitfully. Makes me nostalgic for the literature, especially if transmitted orally. I don't really share too much the author's nostalgia for the actual living. Back then there was way more proletariat than bourgeoisie, and I don't fancy the odds. And I don't like farming. Fun to read. Puts me a little in mind of Watson's Poacher if going the way of a longer composition were a consideration.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  4. #4
    Travel was, then, part of the whole experience, not merely an interuption between place A and B. Today the government is spending years and £Billions blighting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, devastating the country and wildlife, in order to get from London to Birminghan 20 minutes faster - Really! Just get up 20 minutes earlier you lazy b*****ds. The world will not stop turning and, incidentally, it would be cheaper to move Birmingham nearer to London. Mind you, nowadays Southern Rail has been known to provide an excellent view of the countryside, quite frequently without distraction of velocity...
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  5. #5
    I suppose the idea of moving Birmingham closer to London is only natural to a Londoner. But wait! If we moved London closer to Birmingham it would also be closer to quite a large part of the country, not Devon and Cornwall, but nothing is close to them anyway. The added bonus would be that one could leave Heathrow behind, and turn the M25 into a toll circuit for nutters in fast cars to kill themselves on. Without London in the way the rail services could easily be linked north to south, Euston to Charring X, St. Pancras to London Bridge, Paddington to Victoria with main lines that went straight through using existing, and now redundant, road bridges.

    I am not sure what lies about ten miles south of Birmingham, but I bet it would be cheap if we didn't tell them what it was for. Radical, new ideas, that's what we need to revitalise the economy, not high speed trains and face masks, the Japanese already did that.
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  6. #6
    Solihull, Dorridge, Knowle, to be precise. Not quite central London. But house prices in Solihull can go from 125,000 to several million and then there's Birmingham International Airport, the NEC. I don't know if it would fly. And I'm not anti-southerner in any way at all (cough) but leave Brum alone. Stick that London place on Boris island or something. We don't want you southerners round our way with your webbed feet and pointy heads. My mam warned me about youse lot. Cockenknees and Morris Dancers. We built that M25 to keep youse lot stuck inside. Stay there or there will be a new Brexit. Birmingham First.
    'I don't know what I'm doing'

  7. #7
    You can't fool me petergrimes, We know it's all flat caps and whippets once you pass Watford, just north of Birmingham is where the ice tundra and polar bears start isn't it?
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  8. #8
    Typical small brained southerner, always stereotyping everyone. Bloody Liberal Elite. Well I've got news for thee. Being dead clever like I've solved how we can get rid of London forever. See there was this thing called Brexit and it was like a divorce and we had to pay Europe loads of money. But they're bigger and richer than us. It's like they've got to keep the car and we got nowt in return. Just an abstract concept (whatever that means). I say we take Alsace Lorraine or Aquataine (Eleanor wouldn't mind) they were ours anyways and we could move London over to French Land or Disneyland Paris or whatever its called nowadays. Dig a tunnel to it. There see, I've solved Brexit and London. Now we just need to worry about those Nationalists with a socialist agenda and nuclear weapons north of the border. Socialist Nationalists, I don't trust em.

  9. #9
    Member dither's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
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    Bloggsworth, I can't tell you how your OP resonates with me but I shall try. First off, I do regret being born just too late to experience the " soot 'n' steam " era, although maybe I just hadn't been, fully aware, had neither need nor the opportunity to make use of it. It was just something that other people did.

    Does anybody miss the old St.Pancras? How did that old Supertramp track go? You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...... Just being there, smelling, tasting, the air. Okay, time doesn't stand still, and, I guess, it had to go, let's be honest, it was a health-hazard. Life eh?

    Closer to home, I only ever visited the old SP a couple of times.

    The old Derngate bus-station in Northampton, god knows how long it had stood there and big enough to house a football pitch I would think. There was a the seated waiting area, wooden benches, that ran the whole length of the station, with walkways on both sides, and at both ends subways that led you down to the public loos and/or up to the ground floor of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

    Anyway, the old Derngate;

    A steel and glass partition with doorways at designated terminals divided the waiting area from part where the buses actually came and went. Buses that were not in use idled there, they refueled there and although that partition went right up to the roof, if you licked your lips they would sting because of the dirty air thick with the taste of diesel fumes, not to mention cigarette-smoke. My fondest memory was of two old downans who patrolled those walkways searching for cigarette butts. I often wondered if they met up and shared the spoils. Who WERE they? Where did they come from where did they go? Were those walkways highly prized pitches, fought over and defended , and at what cost?

    Memories...... What I wouldn't give to go back there and just sit for a while.

    Life eh?
    Last edited by dither; July 31st, 2020 at 12:12 PM.
    If i post a comment on a "WIP", LOOK! I'm a reader that's all, and i can only tell how i feel, as a READER, giving/offering feedback. Hoping to learn and grow here. So please, tell me where i'm going wrong.

    Me? I'm just a fly on the wall.

    Look! I'm trying, okay?

    One can but dream, if only i had dared.

    "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong" Mahatma Gandhi.
    Alas, i am weak.

    I must find a way to Eastbourne and i so wish that i could dance.

  10. #10
    How did that old Supertramp track go? You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..
    I am sure that's Big yellow taxi by Joni Mitchell, didn't Melanie do a version as well?
    Hidden Content

    A whole swathe of entertainment, all sorts of lengths, all sorts of stories, all with that 'Olly' twist.

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