'Every picture tells a story,
however what you see,
is only a fraction of the tale..'
The prospect of being utterly naked for four whole days was alarming. Naked insofar as bereft and stripped of the familiar safety blanket of a mobile phone or Internet access. A self imposed 'digital detox' (particularly fashionable actually). I was to travel 'north', well Leicestershire to be precise on a coach of all things ! It seemed rather a novelty and I do enjoy a lark. The only alarming moment really if I am to be honest was when we were caught in the jaws of the notorious 'Spaghetti Junction' the interchange in Birmingham. Opened in 1972 it is actually an engineering masterpiece. The blanket of utter grey evening gloom that enveloped as far as the eye could see required that I transport myself somewhere else temporarily so I chose the Paris peripherique. I then vaguely and quietly berated myself for being a fantasist instead of a realist.
Actually I quite enjoy being a fantasist, escaping from the real world into a land of nostalgia combined with thrills and a touch of personal pleasure. Faced with the frightening prospect of conjuring up a novel experience for a birthday treat I opted for a trip on a steam locomotive. I rather fancied it myself and secretly played scenes from 'Brief Encounter' where the thundering crescendo of Rachmaninoff's piano concerto No2 brutally and dramatically tears the lovers apart as they finally part snatching one last lingering glimpse through the steam....
But really, who can resist 'boys with their toys' ? Taking the controls of a living breathing steam engine and feeling the pressure mounting as you hurriedly shovel coal into the frighteningly hot hungry furnace and standing on the footplate is awesome. Mega tons of steel shudder into life alarmingly responsive to the merest touch. Feeling the utter thrill of another full sized steam train whistling past you in the other direction is indescribable as you thunder down the tracks the sharp January wind biting into you as you are open to natures elements.
Who would have thought that steam trains would be so surprisingly, breathtakingly sexy ?
And how did I fare on my self imposed 'digital detox' ? Four torturous days of non communications oblivious to the 'real world'
The answer lay in her knowing smile.