Traveller's tales

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dawlish and the trains

'The train now standing at Platform 9 is the 10.20 to Penzance calling at Dawlish, Plymouth and Penzance.'

It was peaceful, little waves were running into the shore at a nice angle, sandbars in the making formed as each wave left a little sand. I watched mesmerized, trying to make a rhythm of the tide, but I couldn't, so I stepped on towards the small town of Dawlish, on my way to Minehead in Somerset still some weeks on.

The sky was blue, birds were twittering in the branches of trees, the gentle whoosh of the waves punctuated the morning.

Then, there was a whistling, like a trilling metallic bird. I looked up to see what it was. In the time it took to move my neck, a 125, the 10.20 from Paddington tore past. A terrific blast of air, a great rush of noise and it was gone. The birds stopped momentarily, I think, or perhaps they didn't, and of course the tide never ceased.

It all reminded me of the Kipling poem in which a baby in a pram watches a pied wagtail drinking at the edge of a stream as a great bull bellows and roars down to the water's edge to drink; the little bird doesn't even pause, but when a fine gentleman and a lady pass, the bird flies up alarmed. I think the last line goes something like, 'The baby sets a-thinking.'

And thinking goes well with walking.
Robert L. Fielding

Visit My Website