Back when I was about 16 years old. My cousins lived down on the South Coast and I went down there on my own by train and my parents were driving down the next day.
I caught my train from East Croydon and I had a window seat, I think it was around 9pm in the later part of the year, it was dark. The train was mostly empty, maybe another 5 or 6 people in my carriage, the noise and movement of the train were mesmerising as it clackety clacked its way through the dark to my destination.
I remember putting my face up to the cold glass, my hands cupping the side of my face to block out the light from the interior of the train and I looked out on the dark, cold English countryside as we sped past. I was fascinated by the little yellow pools of light in the windows of buildings that we passed, these were people’s homes, people unknown to me going about their lives, watching telly, or getting ready to go out or even some people getting ready for bed maybe.
Those little pools of light gave a very small glimpse into someone else’s existence. I loved that feeling, almost being an outsider looking in although in a completely non voyeuristic way, I do that on every train journey I take now at night, press my face to the glass and cup my hands to the side of my face and take myself back to that 16 year old boy hurtling through the countryside.