A TRAIN TRIP AROUND THE UK DAIRY, 1990
Period August-September 1990
(Edited and adapted, January 2019 & May 2020)
Part One: Introduction &
Day 1 (Winchester to Hythe, via Canterbury)
Back in the late summer of 1990, I decided to take a train trip around the United Kingdom. I guess it was my own architectural pilgrimage, following in the footsteps of the great architectural geniuses. However, unlike them I have no architectural legacy to my name…as yet.
In those days there was a thing called a ‘Rover Ticket’ which allowed unlimited travel on part or all of the UK rail network for either one or two weeks. As someone who doesn’t do things by half, I went the full hog. I saved up my pennies over the summer, getting down and dirty, so to speak, as a domestic at Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital. I decided the cheapest option was Youth Hostelling. As there were no such things as emails, mobiles, and the internet, it was a case of phone calls, letters, and writing cheques to make my plans.
The following diary is an account of my adventures and thoughts on this trip, padded out with thirty years political correctness and hindsight. I highlighted these intersegments in italics. I hope it will amuse!
|DAY ONE||WEDNESDAY||29/08/1990||WINCHESTER – CANTERBURY – HYTHE|
Winchester to Canterbury via London (Waterloo and Charing Cross Mainline Stations): The journey went ok except for me being a dopey plonker and walking into a metal railing at Embankment Station on the London Underground Northern Line. On the train from London to Canterbury there were some ‘Kevs and Tracys’ (or Chavs as they are known today, not that I’m stereotyping) blasting ‘Dance 1990’ which interfered with ‘The Best of OMD’ on my expensive JVC Walkman. As I considered myself a ‘musical snob’ (and still do), only the best money could afford would do to listen on to my so cool and intellectual sounds!
Canterbury: I decided to visit the world famous cathedral, where the Archbishop of Canterbury resides, surprisingly enough. Anyway, I thought I’d take a few shots of the building interior. However, some jobsworth told me I had to pay for the privilege, forty pence student rates. No doubt for the cathedral restoration fund rather than subbing the Archbishop’s personal services!
Canterbury had lots of lovely old architecture, expensive shops, and some fine ‘wildlife’ who no doubt had expensive tastes and were way out of my league. I would imagine living in the place would give the same experience as living in Winchester, lots of people who considered themselves better than others (of course I didn’t consider myself as one of them…except for music). However, in reality, they were just the same only with more money. I got ripped off for a ‘butty’, paying one pound eighty for the pleasure. That’ll teach me for being a ‘lazy toad’ and not making a packed lunch the night before.
Canterbury to Hythe via Ashford: My train was late from Canterbury to Ashford but it didn’t really matter as the train from London I was due to get was late also. When I got to Sandling (the nearest station to Hythe), I needed to phone my granddad to pick me up. It was free accommodation to stay with him for the night, not that I was someone to take advantage of my relatives.
Mobile technology was in its infancy and only really available to the yuppies (who are responsible for the mess our public services are in today). I ended up needing to pay fifty pence to use a public pay phone, then another fifty pence as I dialled the wrong number the first time – my handwriting has never been the best. On the whole, this was a good day, or so my dairy says.