West to East and Back Again, or How to Draw from the Window of a Train.

A week or so ago I travelled across England to pick up a car. So the away journey was by train and the return by car.

There’s a lot of enforced down time during a trip like that so I took a few photos made a few drawings, read a bit of Vonnegut, thought about stuff. Very enriching in all.

I liked the idea I could sample the sea on opposite coasts in one day. This was not possible on the way there as I was effectively on food and couldn’t get to Clevedon.

So my morning photo of the West that day was this one:

Morgan’s Hill

Caught the 11:05 to Paddington, with the express idea of drawing, a possibly trying to catch up on the 365 drawing thing I’ve been going. Not sure if you have tried drawing on a train, most people are too close for you to study without causing a uncomfortable situation and generally stuff is going passed so quickly outside you need a super fast photographic memory to get it in your brain before you can decide how to represent it on the page.

So I decided to go for the horizon, because that goes pass slower and if you miss a bit it doesn’t look too weird if you just join on to the contiuation.

I added the times and locations at points, also a few announcements from the guard to add some



70/365 Various horizon lines drawn from the window of the 11:30 to London Paddington. Going through Bath Spa, Chippenham, Swindon, Didcot Parkway. V-ball. Notebook: Ethel.

I got as far as Didcot Parkway on that then got the I’ll-miss-my-stop-fear, even theough the train was terminating. The connections were really tight as I got a super cheap ticket I had to make everyone.

Managed to take a picture of Yea Olde Saint Pancras as I got to Kings Cross.

Passing through the London at speed. Not even touching the sides. St. Pancras from the entrance to Kings Cross. #dontforgettolookup
View across Shaw’s Dike.

Then there I was in the East. It’s quite flat there. We picked up the car somewhere in the middle of the Fens, this is what it is like there.

Mostly sky.

I stayed over night at my folks place. There’s a lot of amazing old photos there. They should write a book.

Here is a picture of my Grandad at a Grasstrack meeting at Bourne in June 1949, less that 4 years after the end of the Second World War. Two Soldiers looking on. (Grandad’s on the left):

Picture of Grandad (on the left) with fellow rider at a grass track meet. Taken at Bourne, June 1949. Check out the two military looking fellas in the back there.

So the next day I set off as early as I could (which wasn’t that early), this time because I had wheels I could take a picture of the sea, here known as the Wash. It’s quite shallow there so the sea is often very flat compared to the ocean that crashes in on the West coast.

The Wash from near the Light House, Old Hunstanton.

Wanted to draw on the way back too. But you can’t draw when driving. That is bad. So I took breaks (7 hour drive altogether), and when I took a break I drew the backend of whatever I could see.

71/365 Back-ends of various vehicles drawn during mildly epic road trip (when stationary and when it was safe to do so, obv) from Hunstanton through Peterborough, A47, M6, M5 etc. 7 hours journey time in total. See images of both #east and #west seas (taken on same day) earlier in this feed. V-ball. Notebook: Ethel.

I got caught in a nasty jam on the M62 so didn’t get back home until late. But just in time to catch the end of the light in this picture of the opposite Sea.

West coast. Clevedon front.

“You Said Everything Would Be OK.”

I wrote this story and submitted it to STS:

She walked back to the station, the replays going through her head, feeling light, transcendental, avoiding morose.

Was there much to say? The weekend had run away with itself somewhat, the laughing, the vanity and the music. She could see people getting hurt, wrapped up in their own immaculate expectations, the internal maths not being fulfilled.

HJ had stormed off alone into the night, she had seen the rage crashing into his eyes like a tidal surge, where there has previously been quiet joy.  He knew he was out of step, his feelings were not compatible with the time they were having, but he had no choice, something had turned away from him and he was obliged to react.

“You said…”, he said.

They kept tabs on him by text message, just to make sure he was safe.

She has suspected he might go that way when they hooked up, but had buried the suspicion, because it was such a good moment.  Now the weight of a responsibility for another person’s emotion was pressing down on her.  She bought some coffee, lit a cigarette and shook it loose.

The train would be here soon and she wasn’t interested spending the last few minutes in this town feeling bad for a possessive motherfucker.

She conjured up that beautiful dawn that came after. Standing with Sally as the orange and the red took hold of the city, skin prickling as they held each other in the morning light, whiskey warming their blood. The love they felt in that moment expanding into time.

The cigarette smoke swirled around the cardboard cup, patterns in front of her eyes.

She would leave now and return to the working life, this fantastical world an echo behind the routine.  She felt blessed to have been part of that it, and thought about how often she would remember.

Stubbed out the cigarette.

Caught the train.


“Madame Tutli-Putli” by by Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski – (2007)

“This stop-motion animated film takes viewers on an exhilarating existential journey into the fully imagined, tactile world of Madame Tutli-Putli. As she travels alone on the night train, weighed down with her all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past, she faces both the kindness and menace of strangers. Finding herself caught up in a desperate metaphysical adventure, adrift between real and imagined worlds. she confronts her demons.”