journey back

December 12, 2013

sevenoaks platform

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. . . . .

seven oaks station 2

. . . the light was dropping fast backlighting the trees with flashes of fire from the low band of the sun . . .

tonbridge 2


. . 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 . . .

tonbridge platform

. . . 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 . . .

wadhurst 2

wadhurst 3

. . the light of the sunset across Beachy Head streams across the horizon.

wadhurst 4

last sunset 2

last sunset

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

3 Responses to “journey back”

  1. Love the creativity with the pics here. I have looked at this post on my phone and on the big calibrated screen and not surprisingly they are much more effective as little thumbnails on my phone. No criticism here. I can’t get my head around why the journey is not as pleasant giung North-South. I guess the light is on the other side of the sky. Does it depend on which direction you are seated? Can’t help but think that the difference is in you rather than the environment but you never know. I spent my childhood travelling on that line from Pets Wood to London. I don’t suppose your train stops there. We had the great advantage of it being a junction to both Charing Cross and Victoria.

    • julia fogg Says:

      Ah, well I’ve had the discussion on why the trip ‘up’ is more pleasing with someone who has an acute visual sense but little resulted. There is the obvious rise in terrain and certainly less encroaching landscape structure to the east although the more restricted views to the west are fine. I’d like to discuss with another opinion. It may just be psychological.
      We can access both C Cross and Victoria, but just stopping at E Croydon not Petts Wood and I only use this track if Gatwick bound as it’s time consuming shugging in and out of Eastbourne. The journey time to Charing X is also lengthy and a killer late evening when we stop at all stations and no one departs – would use the exclamation mark here but those who know (Anne) tell me it’s non de rigueur.
      Cried, yes, when I left my mother in her nursing home for what I thought was the last time and unfortunately I was right. I like this poem very, very much. She’s a prodigious poet.

  2. The reference to crying was a real hook! And then there is crying in your poem choice. Hope you are OK.

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