Friday, October 21, 2011
I love a good train ride. I frequently travel from Boston to New York and all too often find myself gazing dreamily out the window. A good deal of the trip passes alongside various waterways and fens in Connecticut on one side with the Atlantic on the other. Quite serene. A fine place to think, and write.
This afternoon’s journey is taking me from Bristol to London. Less than two hours, much of the voyage passes through English countryside, an arboreal vista dotted with farmland and occasional cattle and horses.
After much debating with myself, I sadly tossed yesterday’s leftovers of fish pie and jacket potato instead of bringing them with me for a train snack. (I did mention the potato was the size of a baby’s head, remember?) Alas, my hands were simply too full with luggage and laptop, so I just took a few pieces of fruit with me instead that I had on hand. I bring this up for two reasons. First, if you’ve never been to London before, you may not know that Europeans really don’t do the whole packing-up-leftovers-and-bringing-them-home thing. They frown upon it, really, and in France find it rather gauche. (On this same note, it’s only in the past decade or so that you can do the whole take-out thing, too, which the Brits call “take-away.” For example: “I’ll have a coffee take-away, please.”) It occurs now that the “to-go” practice perhaps evolved as an American thing due to massive portions? I’m not sure, but I bear the chagrin regardless and take leftover restaurant food home with me in Europe, even the smallest of remains, both to avoid waste and enjoy a subsequent meal or snack.
I’d like to tell you that the banana I had on the train instead was as gratifyng as the leftover fish pie would have been. Yeah, okay. Sure.
I will arrive in London rather shortly, and by the time I get to the hotel and get settled it will be almost 4 pm. That is a magical bewitching hour when on holiday in London, which means the choice between either late afternoon tea and scones or an early evening out to the pub.
With a little luck, this will be the hardest decision I’ll have to make all day.