Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Full steam ahead, part 1
I found it strange to travel by car to a coastal region in England. Holiday trips with my parents, Jessie and Lew, always started at one of London’s main-line terminus stations, usually Victoria for the South Coast or Paddington for the West Country. As I drove I remembered those large, glass-covered edifices, filthy from the soot of train smoke built up over the great age of steam, a gummy brown legacy of time gone by. When I was a kid steam trains were still in service and I could easily recall the loud engine noise as they scudded to a halt, wheezing smoking, billowing steam and sounding like metallic raspberries. But it was the smell I remembered most, the smell of grease, oil, and coal. These were the ingredients that fueled adventures far from my home in Dagenham.