Train journeys are odd affairs, lots of people ignoring each other in confined spaces, yet trying to observe the person opposite without that person noticing. And when they make eye contact the observer will swiftly look away.At least the trains on the continent run on time, they’re clean, there’s no ‘MUFC’ & ‘Shaz 4 Darren’ scrawled inside a filthy toilet cubicle & the fares are much cheaper.
Entertainment on a long train journey – Frankfurt to Paris – is playing the role of observer. Watching the different people who sit opposite. One woman, a member of a group of middle-aged Germans fascinated me; her neck was so wide it was difficult to determine where her face actually began. I also noticed that at some point she’d painstakingly removed each individual hair from her eyebrows & then painted them back on.
About 25 people had boarded the train the same time as me at Frankfurt, they were all sporting hiking boots & silly yellow hats like children on a school outing. Only the English can look that stupid I thought, & sure enough as they passed me I picked up their non-descript drivel; ‘What time does the train leave Roger?’
‘Isn’t this a beautiful station?’
Yes it was; a far cry from the grime of Victoria or Crewe. The Germans seem to pride themselves on their neatness; everything is immaculate. Roland had remarked with venom earlier in the day;
‘Welcome to Germany, look at all the nice people in their nice cars. Look how everything has to be in order, not a thing out of place.’
To him it was annoying living in such uniform & cleanliness, to me it was hard to comprehend just how scummy some parts of Britain are.