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heading up country

Travel-time now, starting with a trip to Witney on the lurching top-deck of a double-decker bus. Lunch with my boss, smug as summer. Is there a truth of the matter? Lurch back to Oxford. The thin ecstacy of winter sunshine. Head. Home. Pills.

Euston. Art in unexpected places. Simple abstracts with complicated explanations in a waiting room with star-trek doors. I have a pound but the photo-me booth is broken, so I go looking for another. Euston suffers over-adherence to the principle of symmetry: there is another Photo-me booth on the other side of the station, but it, too is broken. A train pulls in, a tide of christmas-red faces, scatter of sequinned ten-gallons, luas and tottering heels, stop the office-party, I want to get off. North, please.

Sleep and the train, stopping and starting, fitful dream of a vast Victorian station, duck-egg blue and dripping gold, like a Fabergé egg, redolent with the thought - I shouldn't be here. I wake up, panicked, realise I'm still on the train, but as soon as my eyes close I'm in the same dream.

Morning, no real sleep, head flickering thoughts. Poor John Cusack, trapped in romcom hell. Central to Queen Street, past wonderful lights - green and gold puppets, vast silver bells. We shock the locals by buying large coffees. Our decadant Southern ways.

Pull out under an apocalyptic pink glowing dawn, dark tower(block)s of Glasgow baleful under a burning sky. Eastury lights, an early dog-walker, cranes and bridges, dimly perceived graveyards through the black fingers of winter trees.

Everything is becoming taller. Hills which seem to be all of one piece, like experimental glassware, only the colours sliding and changing. Lochs patched matt and gloss by the artefacts of shifting tides. Frost on christmas trees, snow on the mountains, chickens crowded onto a compost heap to keep their feet warm.

Sleep. Then a white ferry in front of a white sky.