(james benedict brown) on the road

Cow, balloon, sky

Posted in Uncategorized by James Benedict Brown on 2 October, 2006

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It seems that in the two years I’ve been away, Virgin have worked out how to run their trains on time. Not only were both my trains to and from Scotland on time, the tilting train I took into Glasgow actually arrived ten minutes early. Maybe my memories have been clouded by such delights as a six hour delay on Amtrak, but surely it never used to be like this? Thankfully the toilets still stink, the staff are clueless, the air conditioning and heating are unreliable and the seats on the train are harder than concrete. The culture shock is still not too acute.

Saturday night in Glasgow was a loud, colourful and enjoyable way of joining together Saturday and Sunday. I am one of those people who is quite capable of curling up in the corner at a party and going to sleep, in spite of loud music and conversations all around me. So I did, and managed to cat nap my way through the two days. After a surreal encounter with the one and only Jett Loe, I returned to Glasgow Central Station to board the train south again. Being late on Sunday afternoon, the train was soon full with parting boyfriends and girlfriends, all leaving their long distance lovers as they return to their daily existence in some distant town. I sat surrounded be people making lovey faces through the window and waving at their partners, left standing on all the station platforms we called at. Tears were shed, smiles were exchanged, and then we rumbled off. In my new notebook I scratched out ideas and thoughts from the weekend, and thought ahead to the busy week ahead: I need to make up for my slack contribution to our live project, just as SUAS begins to demand more attention during it’s launch week.

As my mind buzzed with lists of things to do, and contradictory definitions of participatory architectural practice, I sank as much as I could into the thinly padded and cramped seat, and watched the scenery of Great Britain flash by. It’s amazing how before my travels a five hour train ride to Scotland would have felt like a trans-contintental trek. Now it’s a quite enjoyable and easily justifiable overnight trip.

I counted cows and hot air balloons, and watched the Lake District fly past before sunset.

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