Thursday, November 20, 2008
Full steam ahead, part 2
As the trains would slowly pull out of London, I saw the soiled backsides of buildings, embankment walls, and nondescript bridges with sidings sprouting clumps of grass and weeds beneath dilapidated, rusting undercarriages. The train moved farther and the concrete-and-brick gullies and gorges and tiny road tunnels gave way to residential back gardens. The odd signal box. Then more houses, walls of bricks, then wooden posts. The city was being stretched out like toffee, thinner and thinner, first translucent, then quite transparent, then suddenly disappearing altogether. The train would break free and there were green embankments on either side and nothing much else. The stagnant urban life had been banished in a flash, reappearing periodically in gray-brown blurs as the train hurtled through small village stations and county towns.