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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

A day in Crawley.

Kim and I have been planning a weekend day trip for me to her house for Cat Time and this weekend I finally went. I hopped on the South Central Line on Saturday afternoon and headed out to Crawley, where she and her husband John have relocated after 15 years in Texas and Oklahoma.

The South Central Line is not a posh train line by any estimation, it is, however, more posh (posher?) than the train between La Plata and Buenos Aires. The doors have handles on the outside only and the bright blue benches seat between 2 and 5 people. The aisle is sometimes between two benches and sometimes against one wall with long benches facing each other. You are forced to sit facing strangers on the South Central Line–I suppose a nice way to meet people or travel with a group of friends, but not conducive to me reading my current novel.

I arrived in Crawley and couldn’t get the door open and visions of continuing to the next station and beyond quickly formed. I yelled out a window for help opening the door. A woman came over and opened the door while instructing me, “You have to reach out the window to pull the handle.” Oh. You have to reach out the window, right–perfectly normal. So she kindly lets me off the train and I meet up with Kim in the rain and gale force winds. The rain and gale force wind altered our side trip to Brighton Beach (so I could write my memoirs) and forced us inside for mega cat time. No problem for me, I love mega cat time.

We whiled away the afternoon, eating popcorn, petting cats, and chatting about politics and family values. Eventually, we finished off the popcorn and headed to the mall–where I picked up a copy of Aubrey Lemmon’s debut single. Then we decided to get a quick bite to eat before I got back on the train for London. We got some takeaway Chinese (YUMMY) and went back to the house. We ate the chinese takeaway and watched some odds and ends of TV. We also talked about the US Democrats, True Majority, and Jim Hightower. Eventually, we headed back to the train station and I caught the 9:14 not-quite-express train back to London. This time it had the feeling of a rolling nightclub, as groups of under 20’s ran around looking for the ideal place to sit and talk and screech and joke on the train.

I settled in among a group of people and tried not to eavesdrop as I dropped back into the 1870’s London in The Crimson Petal and the White.

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