3.45 pm, Kings Cross to Peterborough; Once you’ve gone through the tunnels north of Kings Cross, it’s amazing how soon you find yourself travelling through open country, starting with the rolling, wooded Chiltern Hills. Somewhere beneath the layer of glacial debris which was plastered over the landscape north of London during the last advance of the ice there are chalk downs.
For a short while we follow the course of the River Great Ouse, a delightful stretch of the river that would make a suitable setting for The Wind in the Willows then, after Huntingdon, we start crossing flat fenland which stretches out for miles, as flat as a chessboard.
The scribbled birches at the top of the next page of my sketchbook represent the brief view we get of Holme Fen national nature reserve (and before it, further from the railway, Woodwalton Fen) as we approach Peterborough.
As the light fades the colour seeps out of the landscape and I carry on in pen only until we cross the Trent at Newark and I decide that drawing is no longer possible.
How to be a Hit
Then I can indulge in the other pleasure of a train journey; reading something from the station bookstall. St Pancras does better than most because as you walk in and head towards the Eurostar terminus there’s a Hatchard’s on your left, built into the Victorian brick arches. However, I had my eyes on a magazine that I’d spotted earlier in W H Smith’s, How to be a Hit on You Tube; ‘Become rich and famous doing something you love.’
Don’t laugh, that could be me once I’ve read it, but at least I’ve managed one out of those three so far.