Writers do not hide themselves away in corners or secret rooms working on their novels and poems all the time. They sometimes go places. In fact, I’ve found that being a writer involves a lot of travel – and it’s not always possible to fly in my private jet, so I travel a lot on the train. I've had lots of train adventures.
Once, travelling from
to London Victoria Brighton, as we approached the first stop, a lot of people stood up ready to get out. They got their coats on, hauled their bags down from the rack, shuffled about… but the train just kept on going.
Eventually the train pulled to a halt, but it had gone too far. The driver announced over the intercom that he was sorry he’d overshot the station but not to worry, he’d reverse back. We found out later that the train was being driven by a learner driver.
So the train started to go backwards. We were soon at the station again, but again the train didn’t stop. Instead it reversed, very slowly, straight past the playform. Eventually it stopped, the driver apologised again and we went forwards – and missed the station.
We went backwards and forwards for about half an hour until the driver got it right. When we finally came to a halt alongside the platform, all the passengers applauded and cheered.
The same thing happened at the next station, and the next. The journey took about three hours. It usually takes fifty minutes. But at each stop the learner train driver took fewer goes to get it right. By the time we reached
Brighton, he had finally mastered the art of stopping a train in the right place. Which was just as well, as Brighton is at the end of the line. If the train had kept going there, it would have ended up in the ticket office.