Waiting For A Train.


I don’t have long to wait, which is just as well as I don’t like waiting.

I don’t like waiting, and I don’t like standing in queues, but let’s not get into a list of all the things I don’t like because we will be here all day.

Someone wise once said that you can never know for certain what it is that you want until you have worked out what you don’t want.

Personally, I think there are two types of people in the world; those who know what they want and those who know what they don’t want as well as those who play golf, but they are a different species altogether.

I can see the lights of the train which means that it will be here very soon.

It will take me away to another adventure.

As you can see I travel light for a female.

Only one small steamer trunk, a hat box and an umbrella.

I never go anywhere without my umbrella.

It came in handy during my stay here because this town has the third highest number of rainy days in the country.

I didn’t really mind, I like the rain, and I have my umbrella.

My grandfather gave it to me during a long weekend stay at his country house. He took me aside, paused thoughtfully and said, “Never be without this umbrella”, which to my young ears meant that this umbrella probably had magical powers; Harry Potter style, or was that Mary Poppins? I get the two mixed up.

Anyway, the umbrella has been surprisingly sturdy and has withstood the ravages of time, and although it does not seem to have magical powers, it has come in handy a few times and not just for keeping me dry.

Last November I perforated a mugger when I was working in Sydney.

I tried hard to get out of that job. I don’t feel comfortable in Sydney, but they offered me an obscene amount of money for what turned out to be a few days work, and I really needed that Triumph TR3. It was coming up for auction, and I was a few thousand short.

I always pay cash.

Not only does it get you the best deal it keeps you out of debt; one of the things my grandfather said I should never get into; that, and cars with boys ——- I didn’t listen to that one.

Besides, now I have my own car, so I don’t need boys to drive me around.

Triumph_TR3xThe TR3 does not have a top. Not even a rag top. True TR3 owners drive them in any weather and never complain about getting wet. That’s right, we are a bit strange, but we also drive a very cool car.

Unfortunately, I could not bring my car on this trip, but it will be waiting for me when I get home. I rent the garage at the house across the street from my parents. I don’t need a house of my own because I’m always on the road and when I’m in town the company pays for a five-star hotel.

Visiting my car is also a good excuse to visit my folks, so everybody wins.

I guess you might be wondering what is in the trunk and the hat box.

Well, mostly they contain my work stuff. Ordinary travelling containers don’t draw too much attention and the security on trains is much easier than planes, that’s why I don’t fly unless I have to. When I do, the company has equipment waiting for me. I’m very particular about my equipment. You cannot do a good job without the best tools available.

My umbrella falls into this category.

It was made by James Smith and Son in 1880 some fifty years after the company came into existence. It has two secret compartments, and the handle can be easily detached to reveal a dagger. It is also sturdy enough to strike someone and leave an impression, but I would only do that in a dire emergency.

One doesn’t risk damaging such a fine instrument.

Repairs are possible because the company is still trading and is in the hands of the original family.

It’s nice to know that there is some permanence in the world.

My next job is on the other side of the continent, and it will take several days for me to get there, but I don’t mind. I love trains, and I love having time to myself.

I smile when I think that an umbrella and a wily old man could have landed me such an interesting profession.


   Paintings by Steve Hanks

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It Always Rains on Sunday.


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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

This story was published in the Paperbook Magazine February 2014 Edition. Under the title: ‘Weather Or Not.’



No one could explain it but it had been going on for so long it didn’t seem to matter any more.

“When all else fails you can always talk about the weather.”
My mum was full of little sayings and this one got trotted out whenever there was an upcoming social engagement looming on the horizon.
Despite my obvious ability in the talking department, my mum seemed to think that my ability would desert me if a female hove into view.
She had seen a bit of life and she was still attractive having been VERY attractive in her younger days so she knew the effect a pretty girl could have on a young man even if he was normally loquacious.
We lived in a part of the world that had weather.
That is to say it had four distinct seasons so if one was prone to talking about it, there was generally a new subject every three months or so.
But it didn’t matter what season it was, it always rained on a Sunday.
Sometimes it just drizzled but generally it rained. Sometimes it poured!
After a generation or two people stopped talking about it and planned their week around it.



Picnics etc., were always on Saturday.
At one stage there was a move to have the weekend shifted to Friday/Saturday because the workers felt that they were missing out, but the bosses put a swift stop to that.
The unions had lost a lot of their power and influence since the country had drifted towards a ‘middle class’ accommodation.
People weren’t exactly rich but they were reasonably comfortable so they stopped joining and supporting unions.


Good News Everyone!

It wasn’t all bad news.
Several umbrella companies had been revived and were doing quite well.
Ducks seemed to be very happy and people with sensible shoes had smiles on their faces.
Shops that sold rain coats did reasonable business.
People’s gardens looked good and water consumption was down and, in a country that traditionally was in permanent drought, this was a good thing.
Unfortunately, rainy days tended to push up the rate of depression in the general population and suicides on a Monday were higher than they should be from a statistical standpoint. It didn’t rain a lot on Mondays but I guess the ‘rainy Sunday effect’ mixed with Mondayitis was too much for those poor souls who were teetering on the brink.
I seemed to be one of the few people who didn’t care much; I like the rain. I like the sound of it on our ‘tin’ roof. I sleep better when it rains, and I like the smell of the earth after it stops.



Back when the ‘Sunday rains’ first started a few people thought that it might be the end of the world.
But, then again, there are always a few people who think one thing or another is heralding the end of the world.
The fact is that the world comes to an end for a lot of people every day so I’m going to enjoy my time here whether it’s raining or not.