Penzance to Paddington Train Journey

There’s joy to be had on a train in Spring, just looking out at cows flying by. Usually, there’s a leggy foal to smile at, and if you’re lucky, a bouncing lamb, though it’s a long time since I’ve seen one, so maybe that endearing characteristic’s been modified,

genetically. There’s time to notice the choirboy mouths of daffodils, Disney clumps of primroses in the cuttings, the changing face of all our backyards. What happened to washing-lines, chicken runs, old men in sheds?

      Under the Brunel Bridge men fish from a pier and the usual dozen or so swans gather for a free meal by the pub with the Union Jack painted on its face. Sunny are the pale primroses and the hedges of gorse. A sorrel tree yellows and the first swallows dip

and swoop.

      Later at home on the cliff an owl silently prowls, the chill mist is a pale shawl. The pathos of the curlew’s call. Dolly walks the deck rail, unaware of the drop onto rocks and waves, through hazels and spindly elms, leaves burnt by May’s cold winds. Goldfinch – always busy, twitter and chatter like excited little girls. By the neglected small pond –  a silvered log, sheltered from the wind. The honey smell of honeysuckle. Dense with flags and weed, the pond supports toads, frogs and newts.


A watery sun disappears behind pines. Voices on the coast path behind us; bark of a dog. A sudden squall ruffles a chaffinch’s head feathers to a crest. We take the top path treading the purple confetti of fallen hebe flowers, the cats first, Flo running ahead, Dolly lagging behind as ever, then racing together, showing me the way home.

      With dusk comes the badger to delicately nibble peanuts outside the kitchen door, an old lady careful of her dentures.


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