The view from the window as the train pottered back to England was sublime. We were going up river but not into the heart of darkness, or even of for a Whitsun Wedding, it was for a jaunt and afternoon tea and it wasn’t till we neared Manchester, after long leaves-on the-line-delays, that there were any back to back houses.
Today on the radio they spoke of Larkin.
That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.