Training day

2014-05. Cardiff clock face.

          Sitting on the bus on the way into Oxford I was struck by an overwhelming smell of dirty water, so much so that I was finding it difficult to breathe.   The smell reminded me of a pair of shoes I’d once worn while getting caught out by a flooded pathway.  Those shoes smelled so bad afterwards, even when they were dry, that I risked putting them through the washing machine with plenty of powder.  I don’t know if they survived in spite of being leather or because of it, but survive they did and went on for a good few years after. Struggling to drag the dirty water smell in and out of  my lungs, I pulled my bag up onto my lap to support my elbow and rested my chin on my hand, filtering my breathing through the sleeve of my jumper.   A couple of stops later we passed through town and the passenger’s swapped, in with the new passengers came a waft of citrus and flowers to fill the air.   I wondered how many others noticed the change as the young lady breezed in the fresh scent with her, thankful I sat back in my seat, breathed deeply and relaxed for the rest of the bus ride into Oxford.

          I stressed a little going through Oxford from my bus to the train station trundling my little suitcase behind me.  My breathing was more like puffing and done through my mouth rather than my nose so I felt rather than smelt the warm whoosh of a bus or two as they passed me. On entering the station my senses were bombarded with delicious scents from the bakery and coffee counters, my ticket took me through the barrier to the first platform and before I had chance to glance around me my train was announced and I found myself sitting in a quiet carriage bounding through green and yellow countryside to make my connection.

          A quick simple change from one platform to another, from one train to the next, turned out to be not quite so simple…

     My pre-booked seat was being sat upon by someone else!

          What a dilemma, do I ask them to move or just pretend I hadn’t really booked ahead anyway and sit somewhere else.  Too late the decision was made for me, the lady with the seat in question was looking at me quizzically.  My chance of just melting away into another seat evaporated as both of us staked a claim on the seat. Tickets were displayed and it appears we were both booked onto the same seat for a couple of stops overlap.

          Possession is nine tenths of the law, quite apart from my probably having the less aggressive personality so I quite happily settled down a few seats away from my booking..

          A comfortable ride with my hands and mind occupied with my crochet hook, and after making the final twelve black squares needed to complete the border of my throw, and a few communicative texts to Little Sister I emerged at the front of Cardiff station, the gusting winds of the day took my breath away but my mind filled in the gaps with the same old familiar smell of hops from the brewery.


2 thoughts on “Training day

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. It made me feel as if I were there too, noticing all those sensations. I think I know of what you speak regarding the bus smell. I think it must be the smell that comes up after it has been deep-cleaned. A damp mouldy smell made worse by the new layer of water added to clean it.

    I take train journeys every few weeks to visit family and am able to book my seat on one of the trains. It’s usually unnecessary as the times I book are not busy times but it gives a feeling of comfort and reassurance when one is travelling alone, A female author – the name of which escapes me – said that women should try and get out of their safe comfort zone from time to time and one of the things to do was to travel a long distance on one’s own. I feel a little braver in the world after I have managed a journey on my own (my natural inclination is to surround myself with cotton wool and to be safe 🙂 ).

    • Glad you enjoyed it, I wrote most of the post actually on the journey on my mobile (the wonders of modern technology) and just tweeked it when I got home.
      As much as I’d like to think the water smell came from a clean bus, I’m afraid I think it really came from the old gentleman who was sitting opposite me, especially since the air changed so dramatically when he left the bus at town.
      Comforf zone … that’s a strange thing. I used to stay very much within my comfort zone unless pushed, but since having lots of medical problems in my last pregnancy, 22 years ago now, my comfort zone expands and contracts with my memory. Some days something as simple as remembering which hand to put the knife and fork into can cause me to step outside my confort zone, especially if eating in company, and yet I managed to bring myself and Eldest Daughter home from Venice on a plane in the middle of the liquid bomb crisis.

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