Tuesday, 13 March 2012

13 March 2012. Letter 94

Dear Mark and Sue

Re: 08.06 FGW service from Oxford to Paddington 13/3/12. Amount of my day wasted: seven minutes.

What up, Mark? Sue: how you doin’?

I hope you’re doin’ good, Sue. I hope you’re doing real good. And also, that you’re well. You too, Mark! I hope you’re doing real good and doing real well also!

Look! We’ve reached number 94! And this despite the ongoing conversion of buffet cars into seating coaches in the ultra-hi-tech labs of Strathclyde or Kilmarnock or Balamory or wherever the dickens it was. We’ve reached letter number 94 in nine months of childishness and wasted literary effort! We’ve reached number 94 and by my calculations I’ve lost over a full day and night to your shoddy service – and in return, given you a fair old headache (and a primer in English history and basic meteorology) back.

We’ve reached letter number 94 and for the most part we’re back where we started. Except that we’re all a little older, a little more beaten up and beaten down by life; we’re all a touch more jaded, a smidgen more knocked down and fitted up by existence; we’re all, in summary, significantly less good-looking than when we started. Even me!

But on the other hand… there’s that history stuff and that meteorology stuff and you’ve learned a few new pop lyrics, right? So, you know, every cloud...

But enough lazy introspection! Enough of this self-examination! Let us cast our three gazes away from our navels and concentrate.

One last push, Mark! One last effort to get it right, eh? That’s the spirit, lads! That’s the kind of vim that got us over the beaches at Gallipoli (one of the great triumphs of the Wars of the Roses, was Gallipoli, Mark. We sure showed Johnny Scot what English steel was at Gallipoli! And it led directly to the dawning of the Enlightenment! There would have been no Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello or the other one without Gallipoli!) – and that’s the kind of backbone that’s going to get us through this troublesome time with the trains!

Besides, Sue: how can a bunch of optimists such as us dwell on our all-too-obvious shortcomings when the sun’s shining so gloriously? (Admittedly, it’s not shining this morning… but it will, Sue! Oh, it will!)

How can three roister-doistering young roustabouts such as ourselves even entertain the idea that the world may not be a riot of wonderful colours when the skies outside are a riot of, well, wonderful blue? How can a trio of young turks such as us fail to be enticed by the brighter side of life when all around us the flowers are screaming their joy?

Mark! Sue! It’s spring, dudes! Here comes the summer! In barely a fortnight it shall be April Fools Day and, as any high-ranking astronomer will tell you, it’s on April Fools Day that the planets of Uranus, Ursa Minor, The Big Dipper and Tatooine align each year and so herald the start of 100 days of glorious British sunshine.

(It’s true, Mark: I read it in Brian Cox’s Big Book of the Stars. Not Professor Brian Cox, obviously. The other Brian Cox. The actor one.

You know! Brian Cox! He was in X2: X-Men United (what a movie, Sue!) He played opposite Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom in the in-no-way-catering-for-the-homosexual-market Troy. He was the Trojan Horse: I think Agamemnon was his name (good boy, Agamemnon! Good horse! Have a sugar lump! Have a groom! Now, hold steady and let’s get this Greek army inside you. Woah there! Wooaaahh there Agamemnon!) That’s right! That Brian Cox! Much better than that other floppy haired fop. Proper, muscular astronomer is Brian Cox!)

So yes! It’s the dawning of the age of Aquarius, meteorologically-speaking, and so I shall stay relentlessly optimistic from now on! I won’t, for example, dwell on my latest delay (and let’s be honest, the raison d’etre for this letter). I won’t, for example, expound upon the fact that today we went all slow and stupid around Reading, trundled tiredly along towards Slough, fatally paused by Hayes and Harlington and limped into London Paddington seven minutes late.

I won’t tell you about any of that stuff!



I feel embarrassed now, Sue. I feel I’ve spoiled the moment, Mark. I’ll go now. I’ll go quietly…

Au revoir!


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