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penrose orange



cat /var/log/stephen >/dev/eyes

A much-needed break
penrose orange
I've been away in Spalding (my home town; a small market town in the depths of Lincolnshire, far away from civilization) for a week. Went by train; my father collected me from Spalding railway station when I arrived. (His car still has that horrible, motion sickness-inducing "new car" smell, despite being several months old now).

My brother was visiting too, since he's on Easter break from uni at the moment. Despite bringing a sizeable chunk of his CD collection with him, his suitcase managed to weigh less than mine. Bizarre.

The weather was glorious; sunny almost every day, with temperatures closer to July than April. The TV weather forecasters said that the UK has been having the best weather in Europe; even warmer than the Mediterranean countries! I picked the right week for my holiday!

There's a new-looking chair in the guest room (that used to be my bedroom; and still is, when I visit). It's not new at all, though; my father bought it for £1 at a furniture store closing-down sale years ago, and he's renovated it somewhat: sanded it down, stained the wood a dark colour, and fixed a new cushion to the seat. He didn't stain the underside of the seat though, in order to preserve the manufacturer's markings, which identify the chair as being built in Poland during the Communist era. Looking under the chair, you can see the typical Eastern bloc quality construction; it's bolted together with mismatched nuts and screws in a very utilitarian fashion. But the new staining and cushion make it look very nice, despite its humble origins.

My mother has a small brown teddy bear called Spencer. My father gave him to her for St. Valentine's this year. He lives in their front room. When she's sitting in the front room reading or watching TV, Spencer typically sits with her. At other times, he could be anywhere; on the arm of a chair, or on the mantlepiece, or on one of the hi-fi speakers, or perched atop the bookcase.

Went into Peterborough (nearest city to my home town) on Thursday: got a ride into the city with my father on his way to work, then intended to return to Spalding by train. Except that there were no trains running that day. Central Trains staff had chosen that day to go on strike. So I had to go by bus instead. Mmmm, a one-hour journey in a non-air conditioned bus on a sweltering hot day. Just what I wanted.

My mother's car is a wreck. It's a twenty-year-old beige Volkswagen Polo, apparently being held together by rust. It makes all manner of spooky clanking noises which we dare not investigate for fear of discovering a serious problem. The gears are stiff; reverse gear particularly objects to being engaged. The engine stalls from time to time. Still, it gets her from A to B, and it only has to stay running for one more year, until my father retires. They'll only need one car when he's finished work.

Travelling back to Reading was a bit of an adventure. My normal route is to Reading from London Paddington; but Paddington was closed today due to engineering work. The other major station in London with trains going to Reading is Waterloo, so I had to go that way instead. It's a less direct route (an hour and twenty minutes, compared with the 30-45 minutes from Paddington), and the train was an ancient slam-door thing that looked as if it should have been retired from service twenty years ago. Not the most pleasant ride in the world.

Now I am back, with nothing but work and worry to look forward to.