I took this photo on one of my trips south to visit Jack. I remember this station well, as I don’t normally stop there, and I had an hours wait for my next train. It was freezing cold, and the passenger lounge was locked. I sat on a small railing and read a book to pass the time, and admired the architecture of the huge hall I was waiting in. I was shivering so much and my hands were painful with the cold- when I’d taken the photos I wanted, I rammed my hands back into my pockets. I tried to take these photos surreptitiously, because although I was just a girl admiring the world around me, and wanting to capture a moment in it, I was worried I’d look like I was scoping out the place for somewhere to hide a bomb. It’s often a paranoid world we live in, people.
I travel a lot. I enjoy it, the act of travelling. Particularly by train; I like to buy a hot chocolate and sit with a book and my iPod and just let the train take me where I’m going. Although of course it doesn’t always work out quite so idyllically, and I sometimes end up next to someone eating a tuna sandwich in a confined space, or opposite a man who wants to tell me his life story and show me photos of his son graduating. Which, actually, is sweet, and it’s nice to connect with the people around you… but I find that often when I’m travelling, I’m travelling in my own space and like to enjoy the quiet. The man with the photos is not nearly as bad as the family with the delinquent children. I don’t mean children making noise- that’s just what they do, and it would be ridiculous to expect them to sit still and silent the entire way from Leeds to London. I mean the children who run up and down the aisle, hitting each other and screaming, the children who spent an entire journey opening and closing the toilet door, allowing a fresh waft of stale bleached stifling air into the carriage they did so, and preventing other passengers from using the facilities, even as their mother stood by and spent the entire journey apparently berating the children’s father over the phone. I’d probably berate him too, if they were my kids.
I don’t mind the huge amount of travelling I’ve been doing these past few years; it’s almost always to get to someone I really want to see. At the moment, I don’t think I ever spend more than two weeks in one place. It’s beginning to tire me out, and as much as I enjoy travelling, I am looking forward the time when I can stay in one place for weeks or months, travelling only an hour here or there into the next county to visit family or friends. This is hopefully how it will be when I graduate. I’ve always been vaguely itinerant anyway; coming from an Army family, we moved house every two years and although my parents made a great decision in sending me to boarding school so that I could have one place that remained the same, I still can’t imagine living in one place my whole life, and can’t get my head around the fact that some people do that. We’re moving house soon, an event I wouldn’t even have entertained a year ago. I thought we were finally settled, and I imagined coming home with my children to visit granny and grandpa. Although this house has been my true home for some years now, and I am certainly sad to have to leave it, particularly in the circumstances that caused it, I feel that it’s not actually that big a wrench right now. I think, after years of moving house, that I am simply used to the fact that one house isn’t home; that home isn’t a building, it’s the family inside it.