Paddington to Penzance

Paddington to Penzance

Leaving Paddington through the pits of hell,

Remade in glass and concrete beneath the westway,

Close by Trellick tower and Joe Strummers grave,

Vodka tonic sees London melt away,

Industrial shell crumbles by the tracks,

As long stay car-parks lead to Berkshires greenery,

Blackened Horlicks Chimney belches at Slough,

Cross the Thames at Taplow by the Stone bridge,

Tree lined embankment leads along the banks of the Thames,

Into Reading our first stop too early to rock the festival,

Woman gets out 50 paper plates ready for lunch,

Vast green fields and rape seed follow,

Cows and sheep grazing by a lake,

Why can’t I see thatched roofs in Thatcham,

Alongside meandering river we crisscross,

Passed the humpbacked bridge of Hungerford,

Vast yellow swathes barges and sheep,

Nice thatched houses either side of Pevesey,

Chalk horse on the far distant hill,

Pylons lined up like soldiers,

Helicopter hovers above a field,

Vast green fields interrupted by a tyre dump,

Strange cellophane crosses in a field,

The Bell pub in the middle of nowhere,

No stopping at Castle Cary for Glastonbury today,

Scrapyard cars dessicate by the side of the tracks,

White shire horse stares at the train,

Long tunnel through who knows what hill,

Into deep cutting and back to fields,

Passed unmanned crossing to nowhere,

Old stone church flies flag of St George,

A bigger helicopter hovers over a field,

Red clay fields look parched and cracked,

Taunton rubgy club and first wind turbine,

Somerset heritage centre looks too modern for heritage,

Lone red fox sits in field,

Needle like obelisk ontop of far hill,

Bluebells on the cutting precede the next tunnel,

Men fishing in lake by Tiverton Parkway,

Disused station sits rotting followed by a second one,

Passed the red tower of Devon Valley Mill,

Following the river Exe into Exeter,

Through the overgrown railyards into Exeter our second stop,

Catch a glimpse of Exeter cathedral,

Steward announces “Aaargh they’re be pirates ahead!”,

Boatyard by the side of the Turf Hotel,

Passed the magnificent Powderham Castle,

Through Starcross golf and course fishing club,

To Dawlish trailer park and the ocean beyond,

Red clay cliffs pockmarked with houses,

Snaking down the sea front rails on the beach almost,

Tanker floats on the horizon by Teignmouth,

Along the riverbank a road follows ontop of the valley,

Close by the racecourse comning into Newton Abbot,

Man stands on a bridge that says Midas,

Newton Abbot our third stop,

Stop by Roll of Honour,

For the 2436 Great Western Railmen who died in World War 1,

Rolling fields of red and green then forest,

Train snakes it’s way passed a flint wall,

Through Totnes by the South Devon Railway,

Through the long Marley Up tunnel,

Two horses in a field wearing coats,

Across bridges spanning valleys,

Big river on our left as we approach Muttley,

Into Plymouth by the Royal Eye Infirmary,

Plymouth our fourth stop me brethren,

Snaking through Devonport and Keyham by the docks,

Across spectacular bridge into Cornwall,

Hundreds of sailboats in Saltash harbour,

Over a river by a round castle,

Through St Germans with it’s two railcar cafes,

Through more valleys and into Liskegard,

Liskegard our fifth stop change here for Looe,

Road follows trainline at bottom of valley,

Rabbits sit on bare earth by the tracks,

Pine forest interspersed with green fields,

Glorious countryside as we approach Bodmin Moor,

Bodmin Parkway our sixth stop by Bodmin & Wenford railway,

No beasts to be seen just plenty of red trees,

Small brook we follow a while,

Then by a spectacular golf course,

We pull into Par our seventh stop it’s rather isolated,

No surfboards in sight no matter how close to Newquay we may be,

Passed a ivy covered chimney or Jets green hard on,

Golf course straddles the railway nicely,

Before the urban sprawl of St Austell takes over,

Helicopter looks to land as we stop,

St Austell our eight stop no Eden project for us,

Line is now elevated above houses and forest,

By ruined houses and industrial chimneys,

Back to rolling hills and forests,

Climbing a hill above a skatepark into Truro,

Truro our ninth stop with its footbridge of spears,

More fields and forests cows and horses graze away,

Passed a farmhouse of Andersen shelters and tin shacks,

Plenty of light industrials and another helicopter,

We pull into Redruth our tenth stop,

Flag of St Perryn flies from the church tower,

Finally another wind turbine appears,

As does White cross a top a hill near the Tv Antenna,

Passing the remains of the tin mines,

Into Cambourne our eleventh stop Kambronn it is,

Back to more fields and loads of cloches,

At last more wind turbines are appearing,

Into the valley town of Hayle,

Sleepy old Hayle ourt twelfth stop,

Surf’s up in the distance as we leave Hayle,

In no time we arrive in St Erth,

Never heard of St Erth our thirteenth stop,

Jehovah’s witness Kingdom hall by the platform,

Down along the sea front passing St Michaels Mount,

Into Penzance Aargh They’re be Pirates ahead of our last stop.

Steam train at Penzance station


About simonovitch

Writer poet music freak etc etc based in London you'll find out more by reading my blogs.
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2 Responses to Paddington to Penzance

  1. Sigerson says:

    I rather liked this travelogue, not too long at all. Wish I could have been there as your piece has prompted all sorts of questions. Gilbert and Sullivan. Chalk horses. Oh, well … one day I’ll make it over there.

  2. simonovitch says:

    Penzance was and is famous for Pirates with or without G & S but yes they were in my mind! Chalk horses cut into the sides of hills always get my attention!

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