Two for the price of one today. My blog post is about two unrelated subjects but both have stuck in my mind today and I wanted to write down my thoughts before I lost them.
First, the town of Crawley in Sussex. We had arrived into Gatwick airport late on Monday evening and were staying overnight in one of the airport hotels prior to our flight home on Tuesday afternoon. My sister and brother in law drove down to pick us up from our hotel on Tuesday and take us to lunch before dropping us back to the airport later. We chose to go to Crawley for lunch as it is the closest large town to the airport. Well, my apologies to anyone who may live there (perhaps we have just been away from the UK for too long) but I found Crawley to be one of the most depressing towns I have visited in a long time. The town centre was a little down at heel, filled with fast food outlets, charity and pound shops, betting shops and nail bars. The shopping centre itself was filled with crowds of "yoof" in onesies or baggy tracksuit bottoms, shouting at each other, or rather careworn middle aged men sucking on cigarettes and hauling dogs on pieces of string. We found an Italian chain restaurant where we had a mediocre but expensive lunch and enjoyed a long awaited catch-up as we hadn't seen each other for over a year. Although I really wanted to spend more time with my sister I was very glad when they took us back to the airport.
Second, the book Night Train To Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. I picked this up in a charity shop to provide some holiday reading during our trip and have just finished it today. I don't know if any of you have read it? I did enjoy it but I found it a slow read and had to work through it in small "chunks", however I persevered as I wanted to read it through to its conclusion. I was surprised to realise part way through that it is set in modern day Bern and Lisbon. When I started to read it, I somehow imagined it to be set in a much earlier period. I was slightly disappointed in the ending and wanted more. I must be a lazy reader.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year, now that it has dawned, and a safe and healthy 2020.