Wednesday, 24 March 2010

On the Trans-Pennine Express: First Day of Spring

I see lambs in the fields. Tiny things a stout hawk could carry off. (The fields are separated by hedgerows reinforced with barbed wire fencing, bringing to mind a story in the Telegraph this weekend about the deterioration of, and attempts to rehabilitate, England’s hedgerows. A lost art, laying them properly, the article said). But in the next field of sheep—maybe they call fields paddocks here, like the Aussies do—no lambs at all.

The train from Prescott, Lancs, to Edinburgh is already jammed with passengers. A young man boards—glad, I think, to be done with the awkward good-bye to his father. “Don’t get yourself killed in Spain or Morocco,” the father calls. Two sisters board, waving final good-byes to their parents through the train window. Mom pretends not to cry; dad pretends to boogie with the joy of it all. “Aw, look,” one sister says. I ask my seat-mate if this train is always so crowded. “It wasn’t until now,” she says, not unkindly.

The sun, which has been grand all day after two days of rain since I got off the ferry in Plymouth, falls hidden during the watching for lambs, as if I can have only one or the other.

Before I can choose, the sun comes out again. And look, more lambs!

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