Saturday, 1 October 2011

A traveller’s tale: Hot, hot heat

Phew… it’s hot out there. All week the mercury’s been pushing 26C, a temperature we tartan-topped expats have little experience of in our luscious, sodden homeland.

These southerners, of course, love it. Draped in dresses so skimpy they bear an uncanny resemblance to cast offs from a rubber band factory or showcasing their latest pair of extraordinarily expensive and utterly ridiculous mirrored sunglasses, it’s fair to say the boys and girls of London town come prepared for an Indian Summer.

For me, I’ve caught barely a ray of the sun’s autumnal resurgence.

My morning train is engulfed in a shroud of heat-induced haar, while lunchtime in the City equates to a five minute trip to Marks & Spencer to pick up a horse-radish smothered baguette before racing back to my paper-strewn desk. By the time 6pm comes along, mister sun is busy setting in the west and I’ve become a part of the shirt and tied ant farm swarming for Liverpool Street Station.

It is amazing just how much of the day passes you by as a commuter. I spend about three hours a day scurrying to and from work. That’s two games of football (although given some of the dross I’ve seen recently on Sky missing out might not be such a bad thing) or a flight to Eastern Europe.

Those ten minute bus rides into Edinburgh seem almost laughable now. I vividly remember being incensed when my bus would stop for two minutes on the Bridges because it was ahead of time. Yesterday, we halted outside of Stratford for 20 minutes before moving. An excuse didn’t even flute out from the tannoy. It just happens and you have no choice but to grudgingly accept it.

But it’s not as bad as you might think. I’ve developed a unhealthy obsession with completing the London Evening Standard’s daily crossword (it’s a swine of a puzzle that looks easy but is devilishly difficult), while enjoying a Friday evening Hoegarden and watching the countryside whizz by while the sun retreats is an indescribable delight. I’ve quickly learned these are the small pleasures that get commuters through the tedium.

Today, however, is Saturday and I have the chance to grab a dollop of sun and spend some much needed time with my wife. No trains for me for 48 hours. Thank. The. Lord.

Here are some pictures from last weekend when my dear old mother came to visit. The first few are from a fantastic food festival in Snape Maltings and the rest are the result of a trek around Colchester.

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