Night Train to Lisbon....and Crawley

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.

19 comments:

  1. I think it's in the Crap Towns book. Ronnie o'Sullivan wasn't impressed with the leisure centre.

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    1. Oooh, I must get a copy of that book for my next visit across the Irish Sea.

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  2. Margatet on Camino Confidential read the book as part of her preparation for her trip to Portugal. You can find it if you search for Night Train to Lisbon in the white strip at the top of the blog. I think I said at the time I would read it but haven't yet done so.

    Crawley sounds like many towns in England, and mid-sized cities. It could even be Norwich on a day like to today when most things will be shut.

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    1. Thanks Rachel. I shall head over to Margaret's blog and search out her post on the book.

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  3. If it's not in Yorkshire it's not worth going to.

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    1. My Dad reckoned all the best things come from Yorkshire.

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    2. Your father was clearly a very wise and astute man - just like Tasker Dunham.

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    3. Well, he was born in Barnsley. Does that count?

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    4. Let me see...Barnsley. Hmm, yes it is definitely in Yorkshire - unless of course you were referring to the Barnsley in Shropshire or indeed the Barnsley in Gloucestershire.

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    5. Nope. Definitely Yorkshire. We once went to visit his auntie Flo in Pontefract.

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    6. Wasn't she married to Andy Capp?

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  4. Smiled at Tasker's reply - am inclined to agree.

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  5. My OH loved Night Train to Lisbon.He enthused so much my D and myself gave it a go but we were so bored.Not for us but each to their own.

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    1. It was a little hard going in places and I admit to skipping a few paragraphs here and there but overall I enjoyed the book. Not exactly light reading though!

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  6. Your description of Crawley is a chilling portrait of post Brexit Britain under The Blonde Fuhrer. This was once the land of Shakespeare, Captain Cook, Christopher Wren and The Bronte Sisters - now it is the land of Jacob Rees Mogg, Jeremy Clarkson, Katie Hopkins and Paddy Power.

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    1. I think the rot set in quite a while ago.

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  7. Crawley sounded depressingly familiar and is the lot of many towns in the UK. I'm always delighted by the charity shops, though!

    I have 'Night Train to Lisbon' but it's one of the many I have waiting to be read - one day...
    xxx

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    1. You may need to make sure you have plenty of time to read this one. It is slow going.

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Although I am quite used to talking to myself, any comments on my posts are very welcome, provided they are not abusive. I do reply to them so please check back. It's good to talk (!)