July 07, 2009

There's Nowt So Queer As Folk (1)

Travelling alone by foot and public transport has several drawbacks, to be sure - it requires vast amounts of "waiting" time, and always involves interminable steps to negotiate with increasingly weighty baggage. But overall, it is a stimulating way to see another country, and opens up so many opportunities for meeting "the locals".
I am always much more extroverted on holiday, because I am confident that I will never see these people again, so I shed all self-consciousness and launch into many univited conversations. The result is always rewarding, sometimes surprising, and frequently memorable.
I will describe some of the best ones here - one at a time, so they can be savoured. :-)

The train trip from London to Edinburgh is a favourite of mine, but this time it was a little unusual because there was some unexplained problem near York which meant we had a long delay and were then joined by the passengers from two other trains. For the next leg of the journey it was very noisy and crowded, because one group was a bunch of primary school students from some small North Yorkshire town who had been on a field trip to the Viking Museum in York. They were very friendly, excited and chatty. You can imagine!
My "foony accent" amused them enormously, and we all enjoyed the guessing game about where I came from.

"Middlesborough", said one confidently. No, further away, I said.

"Ooooo Scotland!" said another. No, further than that, I said.

Brief silence, then in awed tones one ventured "London????".

I don't think they believed me for a second when I told them the truth, so from now on when anyone asks where I'm from, instead of "Australia" I intend to say "Middlesborough. Can't you tell?" :-D

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