It’s not the place that’s calling me to visit again. It’s the people that call its confines their home. Travel time to and fro allows the mind to wander as the various structures along the landscape pass by. There is much shrubbery, garbage, and graffiti along the length of the journey. There are big imposing structures as well as gently rolling fields with grazing sheep. On me return journey there is time to think about me time in London.
In the early morning hours yesterday as the light was just coming in due to the rising sun birds began to chirp their songs heralding the dawn of a new day. Such is small town life in Stafford, the town that always sleeps it seems. Those early morning songs soothe back into sleep the hearts and minds of its residents. I am restless in the morning as my circadian rhythm is now tuned to working life and the shifting patters of daylight. I’m looking forward to visiting me friends and a change of scene away from the confines of this small town.
There was no repeat of the previous times’ rush to the station. This time is was a leisurely walk and a short agonizing wait for the train to arrive. It was a full train with many on their way to London to watch the rugby game on sometime that day. Jaco would give me his opinion about it later on. For now there was friendly chatter until an announcement was made stating that there was a motor vehilcle that impacted one of the bridges along the route and that this train would have to be diverted. This diversion added an extra three quarters of an hour to the journey. There was a bit of a moan but a moving train is better than a waiting train. The hum and sporadic shakes somehow soothes anxiety distracting thoughts away from time. The guys sitting at a table to me left were stocked for the journey. They were off to see the game and were recounting stories of their journeys to other cities for other games. The one guy recalled how he had to pee so bad that he stayed on a train in order to relieve himself. He figured he would have enough time to finish and get off as the train was turning around from some station. He was wrong. By the time he finished his incredibly long pee the carriages were loaded and he was on his way back to wherever that train was going to. His friend that was sitting beside him was left at the station and the guy on the train had the tickets. He said that he learned his lesson not to drink so much on the train. They laughed about it now recalling the story to a couple who were sitting across from them.
There was some research that had to be done. I’d like to be able to calculate interest and payments properly. The last part of my project is financial organization. This one is a bit more complex because it involves not only budgeting for now but also for attacking debt. During the course of this research a novel approach to me was discovered. That is the ladder method. It calls for paying down the highest interest rate debt first followed by debt that is of lower interest. In this manner money is saved over the long term life of the loans. As I looked at the interest loan calculation itself it was evident upon closer scrutiny why this is the case. The interest rate is stated and used to calculate the interest rate over the year. Each day of the month the interest rate is applied until the monthly payment is made at which point the interest rate is again applied to the principal of the loan remaining. For a fixed term loan like the student loan, the initial payments are heavily skewed to paying the relatively high amounts of interest or cost of the loan. As the loan amount decreases more of the monthly payment goes towards paying down the principal. This is going to form the strategy towards my financial freedom.
Leaving Euston and stepping onto the streets the smell of pollution becomes immediately apparent. There was some time before I had to be at Joe’s. Enough time to have a walk through the city to stretch the olde legs. Excercise and most importantly activity or the lack thereof is noticeable now to me. Prolonged periods of sitting lower my mood and energy. Besides I like the physical changes that have occurred over the past few years. Cutting away excessive consumption and increasing my physical activity has slowly transformed me. Maybe the excessively high BMI levels that I see daily in the North have also affected how I don’t want to be. Starting these changes and maintaining them over the rest of my lifetime will go a long way towards my wellbeing.
London was bustling with people as I made my way to Victoria station. The weather was conducive to the masses enjoying the outdoors. Sunshine poured down through the thin layer of clouds. At times in the sun it felt quite warm. I sat down at a cafe and enjoyed the brightness. It was a side street with less traffic and there was one seat on the patio. There was someone who seemed to be happy. He sauntered accross the street singing an old Bob Marley song. The words echoed in the street soon to be drowned out by a passing car. His voice got louder as he approached and my immediate impression was that he must have got some good lovin’ last night. He was happy but soon it was revealed to be an act as he acted silly in from of us sitting on the patio and then began to ask for some money. There were no takers on his plea and soon he sauntered off into the distance down some other street.
In me hazy zig zag pattern I meandered toward Victoria station. As always a busy place with people zooming by. As soon as I found my train and the platform I kicked it up a gear to make it onto that train. The service to Joe’s station is every fifteen minutes. Too long to phaff about and not get the next train. There were thoughts about contacting a former colleague and still friend for a quick pint… It was t until I got to Joe’s that this urge was realized. Joe works with him still. As we talked about what’s been going on in our lives he came up. We made plans to get dinner and have a pint afterwards.
The change in plans made my visit to Joe’s a relatively short. We still managed to have a pint and chat over the important matter of his lawn. His inability to grow and maintain a green lawn has been irritating to him. A small perfectly manicured green patch of grass has been his dream ever since he got here to this house. I can see the appeal and understand it. There are a number of factors working against him largely stemming from a lack of sunshine in my opinion. It was a nice visit to see him, his wife, and his kids. It was soon time to leave however.
Getting to the Persian restaurant near Edgeware road involved a number of transfers. There was no straight path to get there. I opted to meander some more through the streets and then wait at a nearby coffee shop until his arrival. We’ve been to this place before. The first time we met up when I first got here we are here. This place is tiny with seating at a premium but luckily when it was time I managed to get us a table and wait for his arrival. We are quite well. This place is cheap but with excellent food. It’s like one of those places that is a jewel of authenticity and quality. It has an unassuming exterior but has been in this location for many many years.
We spoke about what has happened since we saw each other last. Well it was mostly me that was talking as I recounted the whirlwind changes that happened in my life. I told him about the change in focus and how it lifted my mood and outlook. We both whinged about the state of the system and how it is difficult to make changes in a department. Some people are caustic to its smooth operation. They are a drain on everyone’s energy.
It wasn’t a long chat and I suspect that there was more that could have been said and discussed. We will have another chat sometime before I leave I’m sure. From the pub that we ended up at I had to make my way to Rita’s. It wasn’t as late as I thought I would be. I’ve never taken the District line from one end to another. This line from Edgeware Road goes to Wimbledon where I have to make another transfer and continue on south to their place. The journey took about an hour and I just sat there taking in the scene of people using transit. Nothing out of the ordinary for London. A loud conversation here and the rest busy fiddling with their phones.
On the train there was a group of women heading home I think. The one mom had champagne in her glass as the baby moved around in her stroller. When she got up to check on her I noticed that she was a bit tipsy by the way she sat back down. There was another woman who stood opposite me and was having a chat with her friend. She was sharply dressed and from the sounds of the conversation it sounded like she didn’t have a very good time with her man. I tried not to listen in and eventually she went and sat down and I left the train.
When I got to Rita’s they were both in bed already. Their little tv was broken so they moved the big one into the bedroom. We watched a bit of telly together as we chatted about how we were and how things have changed. It’s nice of them to allow me to sleep here. Even if it’s on a little bed. It means a lot.
In the morning I puttered around their flat. I got a chance to talk to my brother and he told me about his issues surrounding getting his business off the ground. He would like to be successful already. He has the skills but as we all know it’s never that easy. In the morning they were off to the mainland to see Barbs perform in her production. It’s been happening all week during a limited run at one of the theatres in Vancouver. Their shows have been sold out. I wish I could have been there to see it.
The train schedule to get me into London appeared to say that there were no trains heading into London from here. Must have some engineering works going on somewhere along the line. I guess I’ll have to book it on foot to a bus in order to get there. Such is the life. Always something happening along the lines somewhere on the weekend. They are gearing up for some major works over Easter break. It was cold in the morning. I put on all the clothing that I had. I said my goodbyes and headed to the bus.
As the day progressed the temperature rose seemingly with the elevation of the sun. The streets had many people all over once I emerged from the underground. I decided to have some breakfast at St Pancras station. It’s an old station that has been modernized. I like the ornateness of it and how it’s been coupled with modern touches. I didn’t appreciate the service charge at the restaurant I chose to eat in. There was only one waitress and her attention to everyone was diluted by all the patrons sitting there.
There were still a few hours left to kill before it was time to board my train. This is the trouble with buying a scheduled ticket. I want to travel as cheaply as possible so I buy tickets for a particular train. This one took a bit longer to get me to Stafford but today I’ve got more time than money. I’d still be back in time to hit up the grocery store and make it to my flat in time to have a few chats over the interwebs.
North America had their time change this weekend. This means that they already sprung forward thus changing the time difference from eight to seven hours. My chats started earlier than normal. Barbs and I spoke first and we had a long chat. She has been performing something that has a lot of personal aspects to it. It has allows her to work through these issues and express them as have all her fellow performers. Today her parents were going to be in the audience as well as many other friends. She was a bit nervous so I tried to be silly and make her laugh. We are good that way. We are able to communicate well and in some ways this separation will help that. We talked about timelines and I may have to adjust mine heading forward. In the interest of being together which is what was plaguing me all those years I was single. To finally find someone to be with and here I am alone in a tiny little town accross the Atlantic.
I spoke with my parents and my sister too. Throughout all of that I managed to eat and make me lunch. She is happy to no longer be living at home and she looked a lot happier.
It is an interesting development and one that I have to take into account heading forward. The development that my time away here will be curtailed significantly.