Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Delights of Quiet Coaching

World Book Day week - which now includes the week before AND the week after - is knackering. This year I will have visited 8 schools and talked to just over 800 kids by the time I can officially say WBD is over, which is an enormous record for me. And many, many things about it all have been great. Today, though, I would like to pay tribute to just one of those things.

The Quiet Coach.* I love the Quiet Coach, when I have a window seat, airline configuration, nobody sitting beside me, a wodge of editting or other rewriting to do (it's harder to write first drafts on a train) and nothing but the sound of other people being quiet as far as the ear can hear. Six hours to London? It was excellent. I got so much work done - it was like a little travelling writing capsule. Coming back started out crowded but thinned out around Darlington, and from then it was back to perfect peace.

Was I lucky? Was I. The next morning I was back on the same train, in the Quiet Coach, only this time it was a Friday ... Practically every seat was taken, including a hen party from Aberdeen who had been drinking steadily for several hours already and were still doing so very, very LOUDLY. I put on my headphones and cranked Verdi's Requiem up to full volume (not that I was wishing anything on them. Not really.) and I could still hear every word. Boy, was I grateful I was only going to Edinburgh that time!

Quiet Coach, I love you. But why, oh why, do you not have ejector seats?

Cheers, Joan.

*If you don't live in Britain, you may not have this wonderful invention. It's an entire train coach where mobile phones and stereos with speakers cannot be used AND CONVERSATIONS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE VERY, VERY QUIET if at all. There's a little logo in every window of someone miming SHHHHH! Bliss.


At 1:43 AM, Blogger Lindsey Fraser said...

It is indeed a wonderful invention.
Glad you're back safely - and presumably word perfect on Verdi's Requiem?

At 12:44 AM, Blogger Joan Lennon said...

I'd have been as well sticking my fingers in my ears and going la-la-la!

At 1:55 AM, Blogger Penny Dolan said...

Also the lovely thing about being on the train - especially in the lovely Quiet Coach as you described, Version One - is that nobody can get at you with demands (unless you choose) so ideas flow more freely and the thinking feels sharper.

Bad luck with the Aberdeen Hens experience. Don't think I could have stood the conflict between Verdi & their bawling for long.



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