Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DEAR DIARY



The heat has eased off somewhat, and while there are storms around we have had little in the way of rain. Much time is spent mulching and watering. Not being on town water, every year I appreciate water more and more, precious resource that it is. Nothing, nothing, is more satisfying here than rain.

Last week it was a bit of a thrill to catch sight of this glinting in the morning sun.




Yes, there's only one - the great Indian Pacific - its stainless steel carriages dusted with the Nullarbor.

Born in AlburyI was raised on trains (and blackberry picking) and many a time, staring down from the bridge over the railway station at the people crossing from the Sydney train to the Melbourne train (the rail guages were different and Albury was the border town), Dad would say - let's go and look at the engine. And we would.

So here it was, about 700 metres or so of it (diverted* away from the Blue Mountains where the fires were still raging) moving slowly north to Sydney. It stopped very soon after, long enough for me to get past, jump out of the car at Exeter, the next station, call out to some startled man getting out of his car at the parking area - hello there, look what's coming - and together we stood on the platform, waiting. The blue engine with its blazing wedge tailed Eagle ...


I waved at the driver who grinned back and pulled the whistle, and we stood, stranger and I, for ever it seemed, and I waved, and met the eyes of one woman passenger waving back, just one, like a ghost in a scary movie, and waved till it was gone.



No one knew I was a bit teary behind my sunglasses, a boy again. Not till I called K and said - you wouldn't believe it, how it took me back. He knew.



* At Parkes it is shunted off the Great Western Line to Cootamundra (birthplace of Bradman, and the Wattle of the same name) and onto the Great Southern Line.


8 comments:

Susan Scheid said...

In our house, the Edu-Mate gets almost as excited about "proper" trains (steam trains, these would be, that, so far as I know, don't exist anymore, except in little pockets of restoration here and there) as she does about anything to do with WWI. When we walk on the new walkway above the Hudson here, she always hopes for a great freight train, and counts every car if one comes by. It's from that vantage point that I have a bit of understanding of this incredibly deep love for trains and have caught a bit of it myself. Now, you've added to that understanding with your lovely post. I suspect that, next time we stop to count the cars of a freight train coming through, I'll think of this post, and of you.

marcellous said...

This.

wanderer said...

Next time, wave at the driver Sue, and see what a train whistle does to the Edu-Mate. At work, there is a lady plastic surgeon, of a certain persuasion, and her rather constant refrain is - I should have been a train driver!

wanderer said...

Brilliant M, and not by chance I hope. But, American Airlines?

wanderer said...


..."anything to do with WWI"

Sue, are you familiar with the film version of Orlando (with the remarkable Tilda Swinton, who was, by the way, with Derek Jarman when they spotted Prospect Cottage) ? If not, get hold of it. It is at times deliriously beautiful and the closing segments, not the films best, embrace that period with features one may find more than usually interesting.

David said...

Oh dear, wanderer, there we part. Orlando is second on my list of Most Detested Films. First is Bird, the life of Charlie Parker as misdirected by Clint Eastwood. That we left. Stuck this out to the bitter end (Billy Zane? Billy ZANE?) and love Tilda usually, as well of course as Quentin Crisp in the role of Gloriana, but the dead hand of Sally Potter freezes it all in its tracks.

In my opinion, of course...

wanderer said...

Well, not really part. My recommendation was qualified with 'at times' and it was Sue's mention of the Edu-mates WW1 fetish (my choice of word) which brought to mind the androgynous Tilda and the motorcycle scene, again qualified as 'not the best'. But the first third of the film I find splendid, and the Gloriana sequence is outstanding and genius casting, and I do like much of the soundtrack, especially Jimmy's closing number, ridiculous as it is on screen notwithstanding.

Have been visiting you but mute - dashing around. K's mother in hospital, with much of that burden falling a moi, and all well ending well. Etc.

Susan Scheid said...

Ah, Orlando, yes, good in parts, like the curate's egg (wherever do the Brits get these expressions?). As to all else, may all be well and stay well for a good while.