Thursday, 10 December 2009


My car has hit the dust recently so I am using trains. On Saturday I'm going to Todmorden for a celebratory Christmas reading in the library, with mince pies and wine. I'll be reading with poets Janet Loverseed, Gina Shaw and Joy Howard. It doesn't seem a simple thing to get to Todmorden from where I live so it's going to be an interesting experience....The reading will be short, fifteen minutes or so, but the day will be long!

I went to Grassington's Dickensian Fair last weekend, had to take a series of three trains, and the most charming was the Ilkley train, extremely clean, with a beautifully modulated recorded message saying "Welcome to the Ilkley Train" and some very polite passengers who all apologised profusely if they elbowed you accidentally and who all, I noticed, dutifully placed their used tickets and any other rubbish in the station bin when they got off the train. The worst trains I've ever travelled on have to be Merseyrail trains; I don't like "Liverpool bashing" but these are shabby, badly battered by the humans they transport, and at certain times of day travelling on your own doesn't feel too safe. And as for bins? You just use the seats and the floor...much like the London Underground really.

In Grassington I met the Festival Director Amelia Vivyan. She described how working with her team was like working with a gathering of Tiggers! All keen, all "yes, yes, we can do that!" or "Wow, let's do this!" Bounce, bounce. How I like that! We shared a few names of people whom we thought to have flair and charisma at these events, and some who don't....

What would the world be like if it were populated by Tiggers? A bit like trains, I imagine, loud, jostling, chaotic - but full of adventure. Adventure? YES! Adventure. Bounce, bounce. I like that!

Here's to readings, and trains.

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