May 13, 2009

My Private Adlestrop

This morning I was
heading to London
to judge The CholmondeleyIt gets in your eyes even when you don
Awards with Dennis O'Driscoll, Carole Satymurti and our new Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, when - I know this sounds unreal - the underside of the carriage in which I was travelling exploded and caught fire.
Then about half a ton of metal snapped off the carriage, making our wheels bob and grind ever so meanly.
Then the power blew out, and the train freewheeled through a green England engulfed by billowing black oil-smoke and the floor heating under our toes.
And so on, and so on,  almost child-pull chugging, until the driver braked in Haddenham, and we were all ordered out at double the speed of sound with the carriage now a sooty nightmare.
Trains on fire are awful and beautiful. Turner could have painted this.
Haddenham: My Adlestrop Moment.
Nobody was hurt but the line was now blocked by our train (and debris) so there was no getting to London that way.
I had to hop across the tracks and catch the next North-bound.
Inside this tale is a lesson about my hubris.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Caroline Gill

    I thought you might like to listen to my husband, David’s ‘Adlestrop’ moment (a good deal less awful). Strangely, we came back to South Wales on the M4 at the w/e and had a long delay due to two separate but close-by incidents: a blazing hay cart on the westbound carriageway and a burnt-out bus on the other side of the road. Utter chaos.

    13 May 2009, 17:59

  2. George Ttoouli

    Yuck, David. Glad you’re in one piece. You’ve painted it far more nonchalantly than I’d have imagined the headline for it: “Train Bursts into Fireball, Drips Molten Metal for Ten Miles to Reach Safe Haven”.

    14 May 2009, 12:22


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