For as long as I’ve been coming home from London incredibly late, I’ve known about the special, last train to Alton. It starts at Woking and leaves platform 2 at 00:40 and reaches Farnham at about 1am. If one misses this final option, it’s a wait until gone 6am or a very expensive taxi ride.
The thing about the 00:40 train to Alton is that it is a 12 carriage train virtually devoid of passengers. I think it becomes the first train out of Alton, heading back into London.
The reason I was on this lonely old train was because we went for dinner at Sarah and Nick’s place in Peckham tonight.
Sarah has been threatening us with an invite for ages. The last time she had to cancel because she broke a bone in her foot attempting to climb a ladder. Then, the other night, she attempted to climb a ladder and broke another bone in her foot. (She can’t remember if it’s the same foot but she feels it’s a different bone.)
Of course, I thought this was just a very painful way of avoiding a dinner date but she persevered, foot enclosed in a big robot boot and insisted we come.
I started off at 5pm and arrived at their house just after 7pm. I’d have been earlier but I had to change trains a few times and the onward journeys insisted on adding little bits of time. Not that it mattered. As it turned out, Sarah and Mirinda were held up at a meeting at work so it was just Nick and me, sitting around a glorious fire, drinking wine and discussing…well, all manner of things really.
He’d just returned from a work thing in the US (San Francisco then New York) and we talked about that. He was also (politely) interested in my gym related exploits, telling me about a workshop he once organised for his students. Each of them had to run a marathon on a running machine in a gym and talk.
I’m sure there was more to it than that but we were interrupted by a phone call from Sarah suggesting that he start the dinner. We adjourned to the kitchen (which is in the basement) where he expertly scrubbed some new potatoes and put the oven on.
Finally Sarah clumped down the stairs followed by my uninjured and giggling wife.
There followed a lovely meal (chicken), 40 year old red wine and chat (mostly political and thankfully not religious) which, after cheese, we moved back to the cosy lounge room upstairs.
When I looked at my phone to check the time I was startled into action. It was 11:10pm and I had to move.
It was a lovely night though I really wish it had been a weekend day so I didn’t have to rush off like Alice’s white rabbit.
The dogs would, I feel, agree with that.
Speaking of the dogs…here’s a short video from our walk in the park earlier in the day.