Monday, 8 October 2012

Remembering Swindon

Life as a GP is so full on that it is a rare thing to do nothing. Maybe that's why rail travel is such a treat. Hurtling through the landscape, it is easy to let the mind drift while interesting or beautiful images flash by, or placenames awake some fond reminiscence. Some journeys convince me that England is too crowded, too covered in concrete, too tamed, but then there is a journey like yesterday's where England really does seem like a green and pleasant land.

Bristol Temple Meads Station
I left the ridiculously Gothic Bristol Temple Meads to rocket east through wonderfully undulating agricultural scenery of the Vale of the White Horse, which looked especially attractive to this East Anglian flatlander.

We swept by russet cattle, and then a kestrel, suspended so still in the air that he looked like he was perched and merely exercising his wings. Then a huge evil-looking circling bird grabbed my attention, but it turned out to be a microlight. Then more signs of the British at play: two hot air balloons rising above the flooded fields, rushing brown streams, hedgerows and little woods with the strange sinuous white horse carved in the chalk down behind. The shadows were long and the clouds had silver linings. They blushed red then turned to a muted orange. Shiny vapour trails looked increasingly like an alien invasion as we drew closer to Heathrow.

The purpose of my journey was a meeting of travel health boffins, and the keynote speaker (and gap year guide author) Tim Beacon talked about what people get up to on their gap years and how easy it now is to keep in touch with home. Yes you can blog about your adventure, or you can just enjoy the experience. Tim isn't the first person to suggest that people either live or they write - so perhaps that's a good thought on which to stop this post.

Reminiscences of the Magic Roundabout and crazily busy hospital jobs

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