Travel, they say, broadens the mind. Anyway I had to go south and the problem with going to London from here is that if you’ve got stuff to do on Tuesday and Thursday, it’s not worth coming home because you’ll barely make it before you’ve got to go back again.
So anyway I was in London and had time to kill. So I’ll wander round and see what I can see.
There were various things that struck me. One was listening to people on the train going down. Now it wasn’t that I wanted to listen to them, it’s just that they were sitting behind me and I couldn’t not hear them.
But I discovered just who is doing rather nicely at the moment. A small group of thirty somethings, living in the Preston area were heading for a meeting down in London. They’re all working for a company which pays London wages because it has to be competitive. So they’re living in Preston and being paid London wages. One lass was moving house, and discovered that she didn’t need to sell the first house to be able to afford the Mortgage on the second. So she’s just renting out the first house and slowly building up a property portfolio. There was general agreement amongst them that this was the way forward. The opinion was that by the time they get to retiring governments will have reneged on the idea of providing a state pension anyway and the other pensions schemes are great if you’re a pension provider but less good if you’re looking for a good way of saving for the future.
But anyway, in London you can tell it’s a cosmopolitan place. The graffiti in one toilet was written entirely in Chinese characters. (And I haven’t a clue what it said.)
Then I walked past the church of St Magnus the Martyr, and as it was open went in. They have a four yards long model of the old London Bridge. Apparently it’s build of egg boxes, but it is an excellent piece of work and well worth a look.
Then in St Paul’s Cathedral I wandered across to look at the nativity scene. The models are round and about normal human scale. You’ve got Kings, and Shepherds, mother, father and baby. But there are also two lambs and a dog.
And the dog is a Border Collie. The person who created it obviously knew their dogs. This one has the perfect pose. It is utterly focused on the two lambs. There, in the presence of Kings, shepherds, the saviour of the world, our Border Collie, with absolute certainty, focuses entirely on the thing that matters to it and ignores everything else.
It is a beautiful piece of work and I suspect that there’s a metaphor there for anyone who wants to look for it.
And finally, home. I arrive at Euston station, make my way down the platform, show my ticket at the barrier and am let through. As I walk past the train it occurs to me that at this point I really ought to check which carriage my seat reservation is for. So I fished it out of my wallet. Coach H.
Hang on, Coach H is a First class carriage and I’ve bought and paid for a standard class ticket! I examined it, yes, it even says that it’s first class.
Right, so I wandered along, found the train manager and showed him what I’d got. He just congratulated me on getting lucky, told me to take my rightful seat in coach H and make sure they plied me with the free coffee (and it is rather good coffee to be honest) sandwiches, cake etc etc.
Now you might wonder why I’ve rather laboured this point; that I ended up travelling first class by accident. Well you see; I’d hate my many fans to feel that success has made me stuck-up, and that I’m turning my back on them.
Honestly, I’m still the same ordinary humble guy I was before I had Justice 4.1 published, and I’ve not let the fact that I’ve written a well received and much acclaimed science fiction classic go to my head.