Yesterday I spent an awful lot of time on trains. This was entirely worth it, as I got to see glitterboy1
. First of all I went to Cambridge for lunch, in a lovely church where we've been before. I had soup and a scone. With cream and jam. Then I dived into The Haunted Bookshop as I had nearly finished my book, and felt that to rely on the last half not being gripping enough that I would race through it was to tempt fate in an abominable manner. So I got Juliet and the Chalet School
, which I raced through on the Peterborough/London leg, and enjoyed very much. I always somehow forget that I like the Tyrol books so much, and Caroline German writes great fill-ins.
In London I went to meet felinitykat
in Waterstones Picadilly. I was early, and spent some time wandering around peering into people's faces in case I'd missed Kat, and then retired to the coffee shop so I could put my glasses on and actually recognise her. But we did meet successfully, and retired to the bar and food place upstairs which was really lovely, if somewhat reluctant to serve us. I had lamb tagine which was absolutely delicious. I was sad to leave, but had to hurry to get to the last train before an hour long gap. I made it in plenty of time, actually, and got another book in case Juliet
I bought Candide
, the introduction to which has the nicest spoiler warning ever: New readers are advised that this introduction makes the detail of the plot explicit.
I started it on the train, and became conscious that it could look immensely pretentious, and decided to embrace this, staring thoughtfully out of the window while holding the cover at such an angle that people could see that I was thinking Proper Thoughts and not just being gormless. There was a sticker on the front that I went to peel off because it gives the impression that you've just bought it and it's not actually a revisited treasure. Then I noticed that the sticker was "new translation", which was even better. Clearly I was reading it to compare this new translation to an older, better loved translation, and possibly even both translations to the original manuscript and
the amended later edition. Similtaneously
. I can't help thinking, though, that this would have been better carried off if I had any idea about philosophy and didn't have to keep flipping to the notes at the back. Quite good though.
I also passed the time by wondering what I would do if the train derailed, and imagining various scenarios in which I could be hailed as a hero after saving countless lives. I had to get this up after meeting two insurmountable obstacles.
1) I couldn't work out what kind of injury I could have that would be really impressive in a finishing the lacrosse match with a sprained ankle type way, but wouldn't actually hurt to such an extent that I wouldn't be able to pick people up and carry them to the door to be framed in the blackened doorway by the waiting news cameras.
2) What to say when being feted? It's all very well being modest, but really I have just been brilliant, risking my own life to save small children and the elderly, minimising the devastation of this tragey. But it's so hard to get that across without seeming big headed.
So all in all it's just as well that the trains were almost entirely uneventful.
Today I absolutely must
finish my panel work because it's the deadline for it to be emailed to the panel chair, and sadly only one of the pieces is actually ready to go. One is nearly ready but still a bit rubbish in places, and the last piece isn't actually started. I should probably get a move on then.