This morning I was waiting for the train as usual. Well, not quite as usual as I was leaving from Congleton station but that isn’t relevant for the current story.
As I sat in the cold waiting for the train to Manchester a small boy and his Dad came onto the platform. The boy had a huge smile on his face and, after a short time, he said, Dad, I’ve never been to a train station before”. A few moments later a Virgin express train sped past and made the whole station shake. The boys face lit up and the smile almost joined both ears!
Later on the train a second, slightly older boy, got on with his grandfather. They were travelling to Manchester and then were to catch a second train to the airport and then a bus onwards to his Gran’s house. They were going to go swimming in the afternoon and returning to Poynton in the evening. I know that as he was talking excitedly about this big day out – 4 trains and two buses!
In contrast, the prospect of 3 trains and a car journey over the next 6 hours in order to get back to Crieff had been unattractive to me. Had been.
These two small boys, their days full of new adventures had forced a re-think.
How many times have I travelled by train? Hundreds. I actually really enjoy train travel but confess that the pure joy of being transported from point to point with the landscape moving past the windows, the excitement of arriving at the destination, had been lost over the years. Now, I don’t expect to step on the Bridge of Allen to Queen Street tomorrow with real joy in my heart but my experience today has made me think.
Most of the things that we do everyday we have done every day; done them hundreds, maybe thousands of times before. We sleepwalk through much of our lives, never noticing the myriad of things that have become mundane with the days of repetition …. the emotionless mediocrity of day to day living. Seeing those boys getting so much joy from things that I hardly notice, and sometimes even resent, has made me think that it doesn’t necessarily need to be that way.
Remember that first train trip? For me it was travelling from Halton/Widnes (incidentally the station where Paul Simon wrote Homeward Bound) to Lime Street to see Father Christmas in Lewis’s, Liverpool. Remember the first time you picked and ate strawberries? They still taste that good if you give yourself chance to taste them!
So I’m going to try to reconnect with my younger self and fill my own life with the joy of small things long forgotten. In the words of the madly optimistic character from The Fast Show, “Int life brilliant?”