Monday, 25 June 2012

Going home; or, I'M ON THE TRAIN

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Northumberland slides past my window. It is very wide and green and stately. At any moment now there will be the first glimpse of the North Sea and I shall know that I am on the last leg.

Excellent sheep in Northumberland, I notice. Really almost as good as Scottish sheep. (I may be chauvinist about this, but I deny anyone to produce sheep as lovely as does my friend and neighbour The Farmer.) The cornfields are high and yellow and there is a faint castle in the distance.


Oh, the North Sea; it has such a dull, dour name, and it is such a glorious body of water. The sun is out, for once in its life, and it turns the sea a bright silver blue, with violet streaks and shafts of indigo. The tide is out and there are chestnut cattle grazing by the long brown sands.

When England looks like this there is hardly anywhere in the world more delightful.

I was going to tell you many more things about my week away but my brain is fried like a small cooked thing and is really not working at all. I frown and squint as I try to assemble any thought more than ten seconds long. This may be lucky, as I suspect some of you will have had enough racing stories for one week.

Ah, there is more sea now; all of it, not just a glimpse. White rollers, black Aberdeen Angus cows, fields the colour of greengages, and the sea a bright clear steely blue, the blue of certainty.

We are coming up to Berwick and there is a pretty squat lighthouse and the brown spires of the town and the resident seagulls guarding the harbour and the two arched bridges, and the end of England.

At any moment I shall be home, even though I still have four hours to go. I mean, I shall be back in Scotland, which is the thing that makes me idiotically happy.

I was born in England; I love England; I have English blood. But it is not home to me any more. I'm always interested in how that happens. I like thinking about sense of place, and blood and water, and all the mysteries in between.

But on account of the small, fried brain I really cannot contemplate that now. All I know is that in approximately 240 minutes I shall see my dog and my horse. (I don't mention my humans. I can speak to my humans on the telephone and on the Facebook; the canine and the equine must be seen in person, and so the missing is much, much greater. Also, I am clearly a freak. I miss my mare so badly that I am going to go up and see her tonight at ten o'clock, which is when I shall be at home, even though it will be quite dark, because I my idiot heart cannot wait until tomorrow. I attempted to assuage my withdrawal symptoms with The Auld Fella's polo ponies, but it was not the same.)

Really am stopping now, because I am aware I am making no sense at all. (I sometimes think I regard the Dear Readers a bit like my mum. I am convinced that I must write a blog or you shall think I am dead in a ditch.)

But oh oh oh, I wish you could see this sea. There is not a word for the blueness of it, or what it does to the spirit. Even tired as I am, I smile all over my face like a loon just at the sight of that magnificent water.

Edinburgh next. And then the sleek inter-city 125 turns into a milk train and stops at every damn station between there and Aberdeen, as I get more and more impatient and count the minutes go by.


  1. Glad to hear you're not dead in a ditch! And grateful for the uplifting picture of the North Sea, which - although it is only a little sea, and assuredly not an ocean - is as wild and wonderful as any I've seen. Arriving home is always uplifting too. Shall we hear your views on Scottish independence next?!

  2. I am from New Zealand, currently living on the Welsh border and loving it. If I had a penny for every person who asks me incredulously why I am here and not in that other (supposed) Eden NZ, I would have a lot. This country can be so beautiful it hurts me and makes my eyes tear up.
    We have a trip on the train planned for Aberdeen and surrounds, you have made me look forward to it even more.
    P.S. I loved your book and you can write about horses till your blue in the face for all I care. I am not that into them myself but I read just for the quality of your writing. It's your blog you can write what you want.

  3. I think you must be home by now, perhaps with Red. Welcome back. I'm so happy you checked in. :)

  4. You must be home now and welcomed ecstatically by Pigeon and Red! Love such a descriptive post. Never seen greengages but it sounds nice. Now must go and look what it looks like.

  5. I am English too but, since coming to live in North Wales ten years ago, I feel about Wales just as you do about Scotland. I'm even learning welsh. :)


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