quick travel notes

I was in Edinburgh on Thursday. When I left my hotel to buy a paper, I found a dozen schoolchildren in the corner shop and the first thing I thought, accustomed as I am to the mores of the Home Counties, where three or more children are automatically regarded as a gang of shoplifters, was that it was extraordinary that they should all be allowed in at once. They were all in uniform, queueing politely for sweets. They said please, excuse me, and thank you. At the back of the shop, among all the normal consumer magazines, were four copies of the New York Review of Books. This really is a foreign country. It’s not, however, an idyll. Bang across from the hotel is a large pawnbroker’s; and I am only staying here because the B&B where I had been booked in decided to shut for the night at about eight pm: it was deserted completely, and the phone number led only to a switched off mobile phone. On the train down, there was a Scots family: father, mother (with a tattoo on her bicep), adult son in kilt, daughter (who weighed eight stone, she told the carriage) and a rather silent woman, presumably son’s girlfriend. The women breakfasted off sandwiches, the men off beer and crisps. They had got through four cans of Stella each by the time the train reached Darlington, which I found impressive, since we had left Edinburgh at 8am.

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4 Responses to quick travel notes

  1. Surely a train from Edinburgh to Doncaster would be going in the “Up” direction?

  2. Mrs Tilton says:

    You found that impressive? My, but you English are soft.

  3. Frank Sherwin says:

    My graduate school professor was the late G.D. Schmidt of the ‘Foundations of Parasitology’ fame (co-authored by Larry Roberts, an invertebrate zoologist in Texas).
    I enjoyed doing research with Dr. Schmidt and getting it published in the Journal of Parasitology.
    Next year my sister and I will be attending the 50th anniversary of Box Hill School in Surrey. We were students there for three years in the 60s.

  4. Alan Paxton says:

    Those schoolkids you saw would be the ones from the private schools which proliferate here in Edinburgh, and which remove the middle class critical mass from many of the state secondaries. Not so very different.

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