Thoughts from a Moving Train

Manchester/Bath UK Trip Journal Day 7

Southwest Train, Moving, Somewhere in the UK

It’s amazing to me how much England changes from one town to the next.  It was freezing in Bath this morning, and I was bundled up in my coat, my scarf, and my hat.  It was rather foggy and misty, and everything was overcast.  But by the time I got to Winchester, the sun was shining and I had to strip off my coat and scarf just to breathe.  People were walking around, eating ice cream and wearing shorts.  I hadn’t seen anyone wearing shorts in public for months without wondering if they were a crazy college student (students are so notorious for wearing shorts and t-shirts in subzero weather.  And wet hair!).  The weather was gorgeous today when I got to Winchester, and in Chawton, too, the sun was shining.

The landscape is different as well, in that there were more farmlands than rolling hills.  Right now, in fact, I am passing gently sloping hills with trees and open areas of green.  There are some crags and valleys, with trees dotting all around.

There is a lot of water, too, and I think that’s from the Somerset flooding.  Lots of standing water, and I just passed the most charming brook, and now I’m passing the most charming old church with an old graveyard next to it.  Everything is stone and gray, but in the distance, nice and bright yellow houses.  But everywhere, nothing but green, green, green.  There were daffodils in front of Austen’s house, too, and that was lovely to see.  Daffodils are in season right now and they have been everywhere as well.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a flower happier than the daffodil other than the gerbera daisy.  It’s such a happy flower, all bright yellow, some with orange centers.  I just smiled to see them.

We must be getting closer to Bath because the sun is burning out and the fog is settling back in.  I looked across the heath just now and saw the fog, gray and overbearing, ready to settle itself against the sun.  Yes, the haze is beginning to cover everything.

Tree stumps stick out on the embankment like knobby fingers, blunt fingertips reaching for the sky.  And now, more farmland, it seems like little plots individually owned and farmed.  Little local gardens.  Is this a thing?  I’ve seen it a few times now, and I’ve never seen anything like it before.  There are little sheds on each one, marked off by stakes in the ground, far away from the houses.  Is this a remnant of tenant farming?  I wonder.

I’ve gotten a tea from the train cart, a PG Tips (yay!) with milk (huh?).  Apparently, I’m being converted.  Or apparently, British milk tastes differently in tea than American milk tastes in tea, even the same tea, because I drink PG Tips and Tetley’s at home.

I’m in Salisbury now.  At least another hour until we get to Bath Spa.

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