Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Thought for the Day

Every couple of months I take a trip to Oakham to record a "Thought for the Day" for Rutland Radio - some of those who live locally may have heard them - and in keeping with my Rule of Life I have so far managed to avoid taking my car. There is no doubt that the bus would be cheaper, but with the train I can be there and back in less time, and I can work on the way, both while waiting and while travelling. Indeed I usually write the "Thought" on my way there!

As the blog is now a month ahead of the parish magazine, I thought I'd write up yesterday's trip to Oakham as this month's blog post while waiting for the magazine to catch up.

It is a common excuse among car owners that the reason they use their cars is that "you can go when you want to; you're not tied to timetables," but while this is often true I really do not accept that it is often valid. When Rob asks me to arrange my next recording time, I simply make it a time when the train will get me there and back: that is half past any hour. That gives me time to walk from the station to the studio and time to walk back to the station to get the train back. It does not feel like a bind - half past the hour is as convenient to me as 17 minutes past or any other random time that a motorist might feel "free" to travel. Choice is greatly overrated in my opinion.

So I sat yesterday on platform 2 at Stamford station at 11:00, reading papers for a training course I'm attending soon (I already have the train tickets for that, of course, and will write about it in due course!) and when my train arrived - a minute late at 11:06, shock, horror - boarded and travelled to Oakham jotting down the ideas for my talk, ideas I'd been kicking around in my head while walking to the station. There is a refreshment trolley on this service, and by boarding the coach where the trolley is you can be sure of coffee if you want it, which on this occasion I did. 

Coffee consumed and thoughts jotted down I resumed my reading for the last five minutes and left the train at Oakham, walking to the studio across the road. 

Ten minutes later I was walking back to the station and continued the reading while awaiting the train, this is after hanging around chatting to Rob for a while. On one occasion I got back to the station to find my train back was running twenty minutes late. This is not a disaster when it happens, for along the road is the Grainstore Brewery and tap, so a pint and a packet of nuts kicks off lunchtime quite nicely while awaiting any delayed train - but this has only happened once. If there happens to be something I want to do while in Oakham (not very likely but it does happen now and again) I simply catch a later train back.

Solid reading all the way back (no, I have not finished and must complete it soon). 

When there is not pressure to get a document read, I can use my smartphone to read email and reply to urgent messages, pick up any messages left on the Vicarage phone and reply if urgent, or even relax if it has been a busy week. I seldom take my portable computer on such a short trip, but there is plenty to do, even if it is nothing. We need to rest and sometimes that is just what a train ride enables us to do - perhaps there is a Thought for the Day brewing there!