The Race to Escape the Sun

Picture tutti_i_treni.jpg As a kid, sport wasn’t really represented in the realm of family activities. My dad not really the sport guy (must be genetic), except for Judo, which is not exactly your ideal father-son bonding sport. The occasional quality time was therefore spent mostly on two things: lego and train models.

Lego was the passion of my life, my only career inspiration at the time, still would be, if not for these damn high school orientation counselors.

Train models and all these cute little house models that go around, were my dad’s real interest, in true british fireplace&slippers fashion…

Unfortunately, far too frequent travels and moves always stood in the way of his grand project to turn one of the room in the decrepit family manor into a morsel of bucolic alpine landscape, complete with countryside train stations, small river flowing in the middle and of course, the perfunctory tunnel through the mountain.

Instead, we had a few yards of naked railway network with a dozen standalone models scattered around the room to which he would occasionally add the odd country river treadmill #OH35, alpine chalet #OH68 or brick-tunnel through hill with sheep and shepherd #OH27 here and there.

This would explain why, whenever I cruise the UK by train, every single piece of landscape and all these train stations on the way feel like I’ve seen them a thousand times.

It might also be that each of these charming countryside stations is absolutely identical to the next, from Liverpool to Inverness.

Probably a mix of both.

Britain is all about repetition. From endlessly repeating green fields and grey skies to endlessly repeating cottage and gardens. Not to mention these horrendous industrial brick house towns that look like a bad acid trip from the 19th century.

But this repetition can have a certain soothing effect. Sometimes repetition and predictability is the only way to truly let go and relax. In this respect, my family week-end, in the depths of Yorkshire was incredibly restful. Felt a bit like another life, but there’s nothing like sipping tea, discussing the uneventful local county politics and other innocuous topics with your dear auntie (bless her heart) while your oh-so-british uncle reads the evening paper in his rocking chair. Difficult to give a proper impression of what that might have been and how much it stood out of my usual lifestyle of the past few years… If you’ve seen the movie Human Traffic, just picture that lunch at the end when the girl goes visiting her family and you will have a fairly close idea.

Anyway, after a rather difficult transition back to big city life, I finally left for Paris this morning, right when weather had finally turned to a gorgeous spotless sky in London.

Need I precise that the sky is pouring buckets here…