Written in response to the daily prompt: Journey

Last week I decided to make a journey to the city shops.  For me this takes over an hour by train, stopping at every station on the way.  The weather forecast was good and I needed some summer trousers.  So off I went.

I remembered to post a letter at the local Post Office before continuing to the station.  I live in a village which was not designed for motorised traffic.  On the way from the Post Office to the station I felt threatened twice by unobservant motorists.  The first time was when a four by four pulled up on double yellow lines just ahead of me.  I couldn’t work out what was going on and thought that a window might be opened and directions requested.  Not so.  The passenger opened his door and got out missing me by inches.  He apologised, but I was quite shocked and just glared at him.  Those heavy doors are wide and the pavement is very narrow at that point.

I was a bit more streetwise about the next incident.  A car was manoeuvring on a parking strip near a restaurant.  I don’t think the driver was aware of my presence, but I kept clear of the vehicle.

On the platform I half-recognised a young lady, who was talking loudly to another about-to-be-passenger.  By the time the train arrived I had heard enough to identify her – the trumpet in her luggage gave it away!

The train was packed for the first two stops to the next town.  I prefer not to travel facing backwards, so before the waiting passengers could get on I moved to a forward-facing seat with a table. Looking out at the people waiting to board the train, a certain group stood out from the crowd.  It was still quite busy although there had been a mass exodus there.  The three young people I had noticed on the platform joined me at “my” table.  I moved my rucksack to give them some space and one apologised quite unnecessarily.

They entertained me for the remaining hour of the journey.  I couldn’t help listening to them and watching how they interacted with each other.  I did watch the scenery outside the window as well and spotted all sorts of birds, plants and trees with the signs of spring belatedly transforming the views.

Two’s company; three’s a crowd, they say.  Two of my companions were talkative and one was quiet.  Two were young women and one was a young man, who had not bothered to take much with him on the journey.   In particular, he had forgotten his script.

It became apparent that they were performing arts students preparing a dramatised version of Animal Farm.  The young man had five parts in it.  There was one part in particular, which he had not learned, so he asked the quiet member of the group to lend him her script and subsequently to test him on his lines.

After the fourth attempt he was more or less word-perfect, but he requested another go.

“Everyone on the train will know your lines!” she exclaimed.

I read Animal Farm in my youth, but I don’t remember the details.  T’s lines involved paying some money – and counting it out.  He was racing through the counting, so I asked him how fast he thought the character would have counted.  He politely replied, “Quite slowly.”

The other girl was the narrator and was looking through her part, some of which had been cut.  She remarked that, “They had had a bad year” did not make sense.  I think she decided to make further cuts.

I’d have liked to explain the grammar of tenses to her, but thought that was beyond the call of duty for a fellow-passenger and might not be appreciated.

So, as the urge to explain it has not left me: present tense 3rd person plural (they) have, past continuous were having, past perfect have had, past imperfect had, pluperfect had had.  Future will have/ will be having, etc.

The pluperfect tense is used to report something which has happened.  For the narrator it would have been the correct tense to use.

I hope I’ve named the tenses correctly; it is a very long time since I went to Grammar School!  I had to leave mine when it was closed towards the end of the 1960s.

It was an enjoyable and memorable journey.

I am wondering how all you other bloggers would have reacted.  Would you have kept quiet, or would you have joined in with the lively chatter?  Would you have given them any advice?