Trains, tears and plum cobbler


Back down to see Mum, which means getting up at the crack of dawn. I’m up and out of the house showered, dressed, packed in under an hour. I can still do it if I have to, but not like the old days.

The train carriage fills with half a dozen middled aged and very loud Germans, who hold  chats on loudspeaker with various friends at home and laugh like drains. It would be fine in a nightclub but on an early train the volume control is just all wrong. There’s no malice in them, so the rest of the carriage does the tight-lipped protest. They don’t get it of course, any Brit would have left the train at the next station and curled up in a foetal position of embarrassment. We all exhale when they get off and meet one another’s eyes with a nod that speaks  volumes.

They are replaced by six women singers who practise sotto voce their various harmonies. We are delighted and would happily have them singing at full volume after the noisy Germans. They are surprised that no one objects.

I still cry when we go through the familiar stations of home. A pheasant reminds me of Dad driving me in the autumn mists to catch the train to uni, of the species I used to count on the early train to work (deer,pheasant, hares, rabbits etc) of the great story Mum used to tell of the young French teacher who ran over a pheasant and took it home to the very English people she was lodging with. Who gave the bird a proper burial in the garden complete with a rousing version of Jerusalem. I always loved it when Mum told this tale to French relatives, who would laugh incredulously.

Mum is on fine form, we have a delicious meal which she manages to eat herself. B  at our table decides to turn the plum cobbler and custard ( which Mum wouldn’t have touched when she was well, but now devours) into a sandwich with her paper napkin as the bread.

It’s strangely lovely to be back on planet dementia.

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