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Friday, 26 August 2016

chuff, chuff, puff ...

Tomorrow to London
I like a train journey.
The anonymity and detachment.The otherness.A train carriage can be a place of reminiscence.I think of childhood treats that made you fizzy with excitement.

I remember too some wintry journeys to meet the Saxophonist in London.
Solitary and warm.Full of anticipation as the train sped through the sometimes snowy landscape.Meeting at Liverpool street station I always enjoyed the bit when suddenly I spotted him striding towards me. Raincoat flapping and his beard incongruous above the mustard scarf I had knitted.

So tomorrow to London.
 First my favourite stationery shop.The inks, nibs and paper to admire and a little  treat to take away.

Strong coffee and a cigarette as I watch the world wander past.
Just one dress shop - I know what I want and anyway the Saxophonist will settle down with a book and inevitably snore if left too long.

Then the "painters painters " exhibition at the National gallery.
We are part way through the exhibition run. I like to go when the froth has blown off so to speak.All the people who come to see and be seen. The ones who make the loud pretentious comments.
Quiet or not I cover the whole exhibition to get an overview and a "feel" for what has been hung and why.Then I hone in on just a couple of paintings.I'll inhabit one in particular,I always do. For about half an hour.
Somebody else said in another context "stay for ten minutes and you'll be bored to death, stay for twenty and you'll never want to leave". Its true.
I do not know how many times a painting has set me right. Dealt with the ills of the world, changed my perspective.
A close friend of the Saxophonist unexpectedly committed suicide.It was a terrible shock.I could not find a way past what he had done( Ironically he threw himself under an express train.)
We were due to go to an exhibition and only went ahead as we already had the tickets.
I said " its as easy to go as to stay away". So we went.
It was good. Very good. I did the half hour thing. I had to clench my teeth for the last ten minutes. It stopped me openly weeping.

I said to the Saxophonist as we drank our post exhibition coffee how l'd felt . I said that the painting had made me realise that if there was such beauty in the world that not all was lost.That I felt reconciled. The saxophonist puffed on his pipe and said yep ,he knew what I meant.


  1. Dear Angela, I would like to be able to take a train to Liverpool Station tomorrow, and also be able to see the Painters' Paintings exhibit. I am always fascinated by what might have been admired by artists whose work I admire. Seeing an artist's sketchbook is even better.

    I am very sorry for the sudden loss of the Saxophonist's good friend. I am now old enough to have experiences some of these sudden losses. Those experiences do not lessen the shock. Or the loss.

    Look out for another message. xo

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    1. What a beautiful post, Angela - but what an absolute tragedy to hear of the friend who committed suicide (and the way that he did it is even more horrifying). I'm so very sorry.

      Your train journey sounds perfect - along with the things you plan to do. I haven't been on a train since I was a child, but they're so intriguing - a real "event".
      I'm suddenly thinking of the Orient Express...

    2. I deleted my first comment because there were several glaring "typos".