Sunday, December 30, 2007

in liltin' wifey territory

‘Mummy’ began Tilly. 'Yes dear?' I replied, quietly so as not to disturb the couple in the front row of the cinema whose snogging I had been writing down in my notebook of astute observations of everyday life. ‘Is Eva Green from Newcastle?’ ‘Why do you ask that dear?’ I asked. ‘Because it's snowing and she's not wearing a coat', explained Tilly. ‘I thinks she just kept that dress from Casino Royale dear’, I replied, ‘along with her make-up, character and leading man. ‘Mummy?’ continued Tilly. ‘Yes darling?’ I smiled. ‘If everyone’s soul follows them around in animal form what do they do when they want to go somewhere that has a sign saying guide dogs only?’ I was just thinking about that one when I heard ‘and mummy...’ I sighed. ‘You know this film is all about a fierce animal that’s really a king in a mysterious snowy land?’ ‘Yes dear?’ ‘So I take it CS Lewis’s Narnia copyright has expired then?’ she speculated. 'No darling, you don't und...' I began, but suddenly my thoughts were awakened. Perhaps if I went North I could come back with a good story to tell of wild animals, strange locals, and comedy trousers. ‘I’m going to The North children!’ I announced. I would take the train, I thought but remembering the new year engineering works I added ‘I may be gone some time’. ‘Will there be ice bears?’ asked Milly. ‘Don’t be silly Milly’ I smiled. ‘ I think wife in the north shot them all at the weekend’

I arrived at the station just as the train pulled in. It was a sad sight. The GNER colours had been covered over with the horrible new National Express stickers which were also stuck on the roof so they could still be read when the train was lying on it's side like one of their buses and on the side of the locomotive the Highland Chieftain name plate had been replaced with The Alex Salmond Express. I took my seat and as the train rolled away from the platform and into the unknown I began to write. ‘Excuse me’, said another passenger, pointing to a sign on the window, ‘this is the quiet coach, no electronic equipment allowed’. ‘Don’t worry’, I reassured him, gesturing towards my typewriter, ‘even valves weren’t invented when they made this thing!’ and began to tap away as the coach slowly and rather mysteriously grew ever more empty of passengers the further north we travelled.

I knew we had really reached the North when we passed a group of workman erecting the new Welcome to Wife in The North Country sign by the tracks. The train rumbled on and I wondered what other influence my inspiration could have had on Northumberland. Suddenly the intercom burst into life. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’, began the announcement, ‘as the North Sea lies as cold, still , grey and unforgiving as the steel of a reiver’s sword and the river flows muddy brown past the silent stone walls guarding the mysterious secrets of the mist shrouded history of the ancient border we shall shortly be arriving in Berwick on Tweed’. I closed my eyes to steal myself for the arrival and breathed deeply as page after page of lilting possibilities scrolled past my eyes. ‘Please mind the gap’, concluded the announcement. I opened my eyes again and as the train coasted across the Royal Borders Bridge high above the dark Waterstones of the River Tweed I knew what I must do. I alighted from the carriage as soon as the train pulled in and called to the guard. ‘I say, what time is the next train?' I asked. ‘Where are you going to pet?’ he queried. ‘To my destiny', I answered confidently, 'as author of the great northern downshifting novel’. ‘That’ll be the 15.40 from Platform 2 pet’, he said. ‘Don’t be late though’, he added. ‘It’ll be standing room only on that service’.

13 comments:

Potty Mummy said...

I'm assuming that the train heading for your destiny was Southbound?

aims said...

I'm hoping for a signed copy you know Rilly. That would be super!

I hate to admit that living in western Canada means I miss the meaning of a number of your innuendos...but what can a lonely Canuck do? Thank goodness I have an imagination.

Always lovely to see a post from you these days.

rilly super said...

potty mummy, I'm not sure, sometimes it seems as if everything has gone west, sigh

aims, please don't hesitiate to email me for a western canadian's guide to the relevent bits north east england's local affairs, you are a very valued reader and stick with this blog despite prolonged inactivity and obscure references to british train companies and it would be the very least I could do

lady thinker said...

Dear Rilly - so interesting to read your post as usual. The vintage typewriter is just like the one I used to use in my 20's - so pleased to see it is still providing sterling service.
A lovely eloquent and elegant post. Who nowadays speaks as " I alighted from the carriage"? - Beautiful. Most people are now too lazy to articulate anything other than "I got orf the train".
So pleased to see you are maintaining high standards. A real pleasure to read. Thank you.

mutterings and meanderings said...

You came to Northumberland and you didn't pop in for gin and cakes? And I though we were friends ...

lady macleod said...

good to see you back dear. Ah yes, may the new year bring a best seller to us all!

Flowerpot said...

good to see you again rilly. now a best seller - what a wonderful thing! All the best for 2008.

Mopsa said...

Surely platform 2 and a half Rilly? Happy New Year and tout ca.

Ms Baroque said...

Ahhh... beautiful. Yours will be the best. Could you have a cameo Tilda Swinton character?

Mr Farty said...

It can only be a matter of time before your own ouvre is at the top of the bestseller list.

Unless Wifey beats you to it.

rilly super said...

lady thinker, thanks ever so for your kind comments. One does one's best, sigh..

M&M, I did wave when I saw someone riding a horse from the train window. You obviously weren't paying attention dear, or I suppose it could be that it wasn't you at all. I'm sure I will be up that way again dear, so save me some gin old chum..

myladyshipness, thanks for visiting and yes, things have been rather slow of late but I'm getting back into the swing, as they say, and although I hope you have your bestseller I must warn you I have first dibs on JK Rowling's house

flowerpot darling, thankyou for dropping by. Yes, I feel this is the year that will bring worldwide literary success, or at the very least the local paper will start publishing my letters about the unseenly volume of the church bells,sigh

mopsa, happy new year to you too dear. I do hope your little harry potter referenceette doesn't mean you are implying any rowlingsque flights of fantasy on my part because my feet are very much firmly planted on the expensive italian tiles on the ground, sigh

ms baroque dear, I am always honoured by your visits and left even slightly lost for words except to say that I won't allow any actress who has played such nonsense as a man who turned into a woman to bring down the tone of any film made of MY book! Whoever wrote that book, Miami or whatever florida town it was named after certainly sank without trace and I won't make the same mistake!

Mr farty, if my husband knows what's good for him he'll buy all the copies required for me to make it to the top of the list..

@themill said...

Southbound - a grim sound.

Nina said...

Such a pleasure to read your posts. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I have to say I feel a bit stronger with each minute I spend here. :)

I catching up, reading from the most recent, as I have also had a short sabatical from reading/writing. Glad to see you here!