Nothing quite so memorable this trip but I take the opportunity to point my camera through three sets of windows as we pull up next to one of the exhibits.
And I like this logo. You can't go wrong with a
The view from the viaduct always thrills me; it's the height, you see – don't get many of them round here. It's about 80ft up and I love the way the houses below look like little models.
The train continues through the flat fields... the clouds give a real sense of distance. Gorgeous day, isn't it?
A few minutes later I'm on another train - four carriages this time. We pass through Colchester.
What can I tell you about Colchester? It's meant to be the oldest town in Britain, and in Roman times it was their capital here. It has a medieval castle, a zoo and a garrison and was also once home to Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon. Many many years ago I saw Joe Orton's play 'Loot' in Colchester - very good it was, too.
I take a few snaps as we make our way through more flat fields...
... and abandoned industrial areas.
My train journey finishes at Ipswich, where I walk across the bridge over the River Orwell towards the centre. I don't know this city at all and find its simple unfamiliarity oddly exciting.
What can I tell you about Ipswich? It's another one of England's oldest towns, home to the Tractor Boys (not a band but Ipswich Town Football Club). Nik Kershaw once lived in Ipswich... as did a band I recall hearing on John Peel back in around 1980 I think, the Adicts:
Do you remember them and their Clockwork Orange look?
Anyway... I find my way to an old street and into a sweetly-scented gift shop, above which is a small art gallery, where my friend greets me. There's a sign at the bottom of the stairs warning that some of the work on show is not suitable for children...
I really enjoy looking at my friend's creations* and I'm so pleased to see them on display:
Then we walk down to the waterfront. It's a somewhat schizophrenic place; perhaps the same could be said about every city. The bright white yachts on the sparkling water are photogenic enough but other sights catch my eye more.
...and enjoy catching up on life over chips and a pint of Black Horse Stout from the local brewery, which the barmaid tempted us to try, because we'd asked for Guinness. It tastes just like Guinness.
As the afternoon draws to a close I decide to catch the bus home so I can enjoy a different journey and views from the top deck. Parts of Ipswich's outskirts are grim. In the distance I notice an end of terrace house with large words spray-painted across its grey wall 'KEEP AHHT! GUARD DOG'. The phonetic spelling makes me laugh but the thought of living next door has me shuddering. Then the bus swings out into open countryside again and I spend the next hour hanging onto the yellow rail as it lurches around the tight bends. I try to take some photos but not very successfully - this old barn looked more interesting from the other side.
I wish I could have captured the rotting exoskeleton of the old coach I noticed in someone's back garden, and the llamas too - we have lots of llama farms round here - but I wasn't quick enough, or steady enough, with my camera. Never mind, I just love looking through the windows.