Filthy pleasures (apparently)

Phil: It’s amazing what you learn from books. Today, I had a day off and decided to do a bit of crimbo shopping. Well, you have to start some time and with the big day many months away in my head, I can afford a gentle start…

Anyway, it gave me the chance to do one of my favourite things, cosit myself on a train with something good to read, some music (& headphones, I’m not 12 and on a bus with my stupid tinny mobile), a drink and excellent cake. The train was going to Worcester, the book appropriately “Eleven Minutes Late” by Matthew Engel and the cake a chocolate and orange muffin. The last item was purchased from the Millies Cookies concession at New Street Station which makes the best muffins in the world.

I think there is nowhere better to read than on a train. It’s safer than doing the same thing while driving a car for a start. I can’t read in cars and buses without getting all travel spewey anyway. No, for me, a warm train seat with food and drink is ideal – you read for a bit then stare out of the window for a bit, then more reading followed by more staring by which time the scenery has changed so you get something different to look at. Because you are on a train, there are none of the distractions that you find at home to take the pleasure out of reading. The washing up doesn’t call, there is no ironing and you can’t use the computer properly (Technical note: yes you can I suppose if you really want to but it’s a lot of effort to ruin a perfectly good journey. A bit like putting Brussel sprouts in a Knickerbocker glory. Better for you but not what you really want if you are honest)

Anyway, as I read, I discover that maybe my love of train travel isn’t all it appears to be. There is a quote from Freud on the subject:

A compulsive link of this kind between railway-travel and sexuality is clearly derived from the pleasurable character of the sensations of movement.

So train travel has the same effects as (reportedly) perching atop the washing machine while it goes through a spin cycle Sigmund ? If that’s true, why do so many people look so miserable while they are doing it ?

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