Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Back from back from...

...Newcastle University where they are still reverberating with Seamus Heaney's reading yesterday. It made a great impression. I was helping with examinations. Good to see Bill Herbert and Sean O' again. Come away with poems from both, read them both on the train back along with other things I have to read. They are lovely things, full of brio and grit, but I'll say more when I have a bit more time.

On the first train home I sat in my reserved seat numbered 01, right in the corner. At York a youngish African man sat down to me. I smiled and we started talking. His name was Lamin and he was from Gambia. He is doing a postgraduate degree in some aspect of practical politics. He had just started but was enjoying England, even the grey muggy spittly weather. 'What will you do when you go back?' I asked. 'I might become a secretary of state,' he mused. 'Wow!' I mused. 'Visit Africa,' he exhorted me. Top temperature of 36C in the summer in Gambia. Winter mild. I have never been to Africa. 'You're missing something,' he said. He is right. Maybe when he is a secretary of state he can invite me. 'Most people are not very talkative on trains here,' he said. 'You only live once,' I replied. Which in retrospect seems to me a wholly irrelevant idiotic thing to say.

But then I was very tired. See yesterday's post. Tomorrow to Cheltenham and pastures new.

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