The Commute

The mass commute must be a relatively modern creation. I suspect that few people will refer to its invention in the same breath as sliced bread or the wheel. By all accounts, most people seem to loathe their daily commute. But not me. I love my commute. I always have done, whether I was living in London or Mexico Ciy or here in Bournemouth. It’s a bit of me time.

These days I have a fairly varied commute. One of the joys of being a relief clerk, is that my place of work can change on a daily basis. The times change too. Sometimes I need to drive to work, setting out from home at 5am. The streets are all mine, other than the occasional fox slinking from driveway to driveway in urban areas.

Once I hit the countryside, I am more likely to see deer or rabbits grazing at the roadside. Some of them get closer to the roadside than is wise, and they become road rugs, until they are eventually squished into oblivion over a period of days or weeks. This is the only form I’ve seen a badger. Which is a shame.

Most of the time, though, I take the train to work. I might turn east out of my home station and travel into the heart of the New Forest. More usually I turn west, into deepest, darkest Dorset. Let’s take that journey today. Through picturesque woodlands, well groomed farmlands, past one of the worlds largest natural harbours, across flooded plains and the rivers responsible for all that excess water.

From my little office on the train, from where I write this very post, I can gaze out at the scenery. It changes every day. Today the sun is up and the sky is blue, but the grass and hedgerows are still glistening white from last nights heavy frost. The smooth undisturbed waters of the bay have a surreal glow in the early morning sun.  Trees and pylons cast long, monstrous shadows across wild, untended heathland.

The train stops nine times along the way. But today I am on board for the full duration. My final destination , an hour after I set out, will be in a seaside town which gained temporary fame as the home of sailing in the 2012 Olympics. Locally, the place has become more famous, infamous even, for crime.

If the prowling chavs don’t manage to slip your lunch money out of your back pocket for their heroin fix, then a seagull will rob you of your lunch. British seagulls are big ballsy birds and will have your fish n chips away from your grasp in an instant.

10 thoughts on “The Commute

  1. My commute was a 25 mile cruise through the countryside. Blizzard days were a pain but mornings of hoarfrost with a bright blue sky more than made up for the rutted up road of blizzard days.

    The train through the countryside looks like a sweet commute.

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    1. In London I used to read books on the Underground. In Mexico I read books and listened to podcasts. These days I listen to podcasts and audio books and sometimes watch a TV show. Times change.

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  2. Great photo of your commute. Living outside of Dallas when I was still working. I had to drive across town from the bedroom community of Plano. I would not drive through Dallas itself but would take scenic highway around the countryside to avoid really bad commuter traffic. The ride around the countryside was sublime and peaceful. But that is now gone and filled with shopping centers and businesses and more. It would have been nice to have had mass transit where I could sit back and read or maybe even talk to people. Brings back memories of the trip to and from work some of them were not great since it seemed like I was constantly in a maze!

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    1. You’d like to sit on mass transit and talk to people? That is so thoroughly unBritish! So much as making eye contact with someone on a train is poor etiquette. Actually speaking to someone? By golly, using the aisle as a toilet would be less controversial!

      I’ve never driven through Dallas. I almost did, once. Back in 2003. I’d left enough time between flights to go see Dealey Plaza. Alas, my flight into Dallas was late.

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    1. It’d be good to see you again, if you make it. As you know, as a rule us Brits love dogs. He’d live like a king here. But as with any rule, there are exceptions. In this case, Customs and their quarantine policies.

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  3. Lovely post and lovely photos. I have to say, though, I’ve never liked a commute. I grew up in a forest and had to commute to public school most of my life about an hour each way. I used to sit on the schoolbus calculating how many years of my life were lost to this waste of time. Sure, I read a ton, and my commute, along Skyline Blvd in San Mateo County, CA was INCREDIBLY beautiful. But for me it was my ‘normal.’

    So as an adult, I’ve always lived close to work. In Boston I rode the subway for many years, which was only about 15-20 minutes. Seldom chatted with people, but would read a lot. Seats in the morning were dicey, but I usually left work so late that I’d always get a seat in the evening.

    And Bostonians have generally good subway manners, something I’ve recently come to appreciate more lately.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    CDMX, México
    Where we can’t imagine commuting daily on a TOTALLY PACKED subway car or Metrobús.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Considering ha the photos were taken with my phone and were shot through dirty, tinted windows, some of them turned out ok. It was a good exercise in working out my mobile photo workflow though. How best to get iPhone shots on to my iPad. It was, in essence, a battle between Google Photos and iCloud Photos. Google was the clear winner.

      I too had a one hour commute to school for a while. I confess, I didn’t like that so much. Nor did I much like my commute home last night, which happened to be the reverse of the photographed journey. I was forced to take a replacement bus service back to Bournemouth. This was due to emergency services attending to an earlier incident between Waterloo and Surbiton in London – railway code for a train hitting someone on the track. Something that happens all to regularly.

      There’s plenty of material in that for a post one day. If I hold off from writing it for long enough, I’ll have a personal story to tell. There’s a training course for us clerks to take on how to handle such an incident, because sooner or later someone will choose your station to do the deed.

      Yesterday’s victim was a most unusual case, however. She survived.

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