A pastoral post
It is light enough for my commute through 188 miles of England and back to be very enjoyable. An Observer report I just read claimed that 20 per cent of start or finish in the UK, an amazing statistic considering our size (the report wasn't clear on the source of this figure or whether it was a projection) that if true shows how wealthy many Britons are, relatively speaking. We are colonising the world, though more quietly than we used to.
The English tend to forget the extent of beauty in their own country. I blame cars, for I've never appreciated our countryside as much until I could see it more clearly from train and scooter.
The break from Watford into open country is sudden and spectacular. From the train, the sky looks huge with miles of open fields where lambs are starting to roam and even gambol. The train regularly slows down and the countryside is broken up by towns, skyscrapers, a power station next to a golf course, farmhouses and chicken homes.
The canal frequently stretches alongside the railway along with old industrial buildings. A reminder of the visionaries who, in earlier centuries, carved Britain into a centre of industry with efficient transport lines to take pottery and people from the North to London in a flash.
Arnold Bennett saved his newspaper for the boring, ugly section after Rugby, but for me its extent of tracks represent the point when, if I have a table to myself and room to stretch, I can shake off the stress of the day and watch the sun go down.