Sunday, 8 April 2007


Of course, I didn’t make the Easter vigil, but I did go to the morning service before going to work. Because it is Easter Sunday, when Railtrack, or Jarvis, or Network Rail, or somebody, or all of them celebrate Our Lord’s victory over death by moving sleepers around, I had to drive.

I prefer the train to driving because you can read, do the crossword, stare out of the window at more interesting things than the man in the next car picking his nose while stuck on Kilburn High Street and, above all, have no responsibility for anything other than buying your ticket, getting on and getting off. Alas, you can no longer smoke, but you can still drink. You can still drink, I can’t. I wish we had more trains like this nice one I was in the other day which had those compartments of six seats and a sliding door. But it goes between Vienna and Bratislava, which is of limited use if you want to go between Huntingdon and London.

I prefer driving (on my own) to the train because you have the car to yourself and you make the decisions about where it goes. You can listen to music quite loudly (I don’t have an iPod, because I can’t really listen and read at the same time). You can smoke all the time. But mostly, the only thing to like about driving – motorway driving, I mean - is that you can go very nearly too fast. Not too fast, of course, that would be silly. But as fast as you can while still retaining full control of the vehicle. That is if, like me, you are an excellent driver and drive very fast indeed, changing gears the while and never straying from your lane as you move round corners as if you were in one of those tilting trains, except without the coming off the rails bit, and always indicating and being in the correct lane, unlike those slower gits in front of you who are clearly in the wrong lane, but never being caught by speed cameras. For legal reasons I should point out that that is not because the very nearly superhuman reflexes and superior awareness of your surroundings characteristic of the excellent driver (such as I myself am) enable you to see them and respond appropriately, double-declutching your way out of trouble in the nick of time (brakes are for the inept), only to move back up to warp speed seconds later, but because you haven’t broken the speed limit. Obviously. And especially not by factors of 50 per cent and up.

I don’t know my own mind. Train, I think. Or car.

sf: A Better Mantrap, Bob Shaw
crime: The Judas Window, Carter Dickson (who is John Dickson Carr, of course, so you may get it under either name). A Locked Room tour de force.
If you don’t know it: Five Letters From an Eastern Empire, Alasdair Gray (in Unlikely Stories, Mostly)
Today’s music: Well-Tempered Clavier, Bach; Two Against Nature, Steely Dan; The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell; Early Concepts, Stan Kenton. In a car, you see.
Chicken Yakisoba for lunch; Roast Lamb for dinner.

Off to bed now, with a head full of quandary and (many points to anyone who can complete the line correctly)