My Private Adlestrop
This morning I was
heading to London
to judge The Cholmondeley
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.