December 12, 2013
The journey back to the coast from London is never as pleasant as the other way around and it’s nothing to do with expectation and the tantalising thought of the great city – it’s simply the fact that the countryside that this train line powers, sorry chugs, through is photogenic from the one direction – south to north. This statement sounds ridiculous but after 10 years I feel the same. So the journey back – north to south – is best for reading, making notes and a little meditation. Or crying, which I have done before. Yesterday, the elderly couples left the train at Orpington as normal and then there was a little spatial period – mind and ergonomics – before we stopped at Sevenoaks. . . . .
. . . the light was dropping fast backlighting the trees with flashes of fire from the low band of the sun . . .
. . at Tonbridge, the schools entered the train. There are many ‘good’/ ‘fee paying’ schools here but the noise levels of the young is much the same – the accents slightly different. Chattering and more chattering – all quite loud and not very interesting unless you are concerned with league tables – so, the option is to listen or stuff in the headphones . . .
. . . ah, after Battle, we’re released. We, dull adults, are left to fiddle with phones or glimpse at the strong compositions of the twiggy textures flicking beyond the mucky windows . . .
. . the light of the sunset across Beachy Head streams across the horizon.
Black is the prominent tone. Black landscapes that suddenly seem so unthreatening – static – dramatic.
So now I think that the journey back is best just at nightfall – for the time being anyway.
On my bedroom wall
Father paints a beautiful picture
of the famous river that runs beside our house.
The river is black and all the clouds,
fields, thin shimmering houses, stars,
moons and bridges are black, cool and noir.
Soon the entire wall is black.
His river-painting is so beautifully black,
so wild, so percussive,
it makes me weep, on each of my tears
is painted a tiny curled-up baby, seahorse-neat.
Father shrugs off praise.
‘Picasso is right,’ says Father,
‘black is the only colour.
You can fly through black!’ Penelope Shuttle Picasso is Right