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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

travelling down - the strike day


Actually, it wasn't that bad. Instead of going all the way from Sheffield to Penzance, the train stopped at Bristol and I had to change twice, losing a couple of hours. But in comparison with what some railway guards have to put up with from their passengers, it's not a big deal.

There was an early fog in Sheffield and southwards, but it was that kind of fog which varies from orange-ish to blue-ish depending where you look, and is close to the point of sunshine. At Chesterfield, the Fitness Women got on, on their way to a meeting. Mavis, Margaret and Barbara were full of life and years, and talked about great-grandmotherhood, exercise, volunteering and how there is so much to do. They were a wartime generation and I was told about thrift and making your computer print both sides of the paper and not throwing away envelopes. It seems to me those wartime values are not far from what I would see as a care for the environment.

Now that buses all over the place are painted in the First Group colour scheme (which seems to derive from those double ended coloured pencils you used to be able to get, in purple and pink), we need another way to identify which city we are in. Can I suggest the colour of the steel shutters that go onto windows of unoccupied council houses? Birmingham's are grey.

On another train, somewhere around Dawlish Warren, I became aware that there was a railway chaplain on the train. He was on the job, so I didn't feel inclined to disturb him. It seems to me it's an important job, more important and possibly harder now, at a time of upheaval, than it might have been in the days of a settled railway community, as I think Peter Parker described it.

Anyway, I got to Penzance in the end, ending in fog, although it had been sunny on the way. But this fog was the grey sort, with no promise of sun, and there was a dampness in the air that I found strangely comforting. An oil tanker had recently run aground at Sennen, near Land's End, but I would never be able to see it in this fog.

The bus to Land's End, and its passengers, were warm; and although there were a couple of drunks they were friendly. It was nice being inside, travelling across these misty, wind blasted uplands. Tomorrow, I shall be outside.

So, tomorrow it really starts. I have many hopes for the walk: one is for the pleasure of walking, the mystery of one place changing to another at an almost imperceptible pace. I also have a fear: I fear that the points will come when I cannot continue

Pictures from today...
Hannah and Janet waving me off from Sheffield
Waiting at Sheffield - the train only goes as far as Bristol
The obvious...
Living God, we pray for the people who run our railways,
particularly guards, who have to deal with abusive, violent and drunken passengers.
God give them strength, courage and patience.
We pray for management and unions as they try to resolve their differences.
Give reconciliation, we pray.
We thank you for the work of railway chaplains,
as they make connections:
may they be filled with your Spirit.
We give thanks for our bodies,
in all their diversity and vulnerability,
and we ask you to help us be good stewards of what you have given us,
to seek to be fit for whatever you have called us to do.
We pray for those who have to deal with the consequences of shipwreck,
salvage and rescue workers,
and those who have to clean up the oil,
that they might not be disheartened.
We pray now for the people of western Cornwall
as they fear for the consequences on the tourist industry.
We pray for all who suffer because of the loss of a young life.
May the words come true:
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
And we remember that in this world now, Children are dying:
God give peace to the world...
© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.