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Monthly Archives: November 2012

That much fought-over space, the Quiet Carriage, in First Great Western Trains.  Answer a mobile phone, allow the sound from headphones to escape and become a social pariah.  I’ve seen people almost come to blows over making noise in the Quiet Carriage and I’ve seen several people being told to leave by the train manager.  The chap in the poem below just about got away with it.

The Calm before the Office

The Quiet Carriage

The seat in front;
Short hair
A small widow’s peak.
Over-the ear headphones
Enveloping his ears completely
Weighing down his head:
He nods.


It’s not all about commuting.  The last train from London Paddington out to Oxford can be quite a special experience.

Fellow Travellers

The Midnight train to Oxford.

He sits with booted feet up
On faded blue, purple/ green-flecked seats.
He wears a plain black t-shirt and black jeans.
Arms folded stiffly across his chest,
He looks out of the window into the absolute
Black night.
Hair down to the collar of his t-shirt,
He wears round spectacles and a grumpy face.
Next to him is a discarded Guardian
And a saggy, faded blue rucksack.

Silence: For twenty minutes I did not realise
He was sitting opposite a woman
Until she started shouting.