A Train, a plane, a car and some skis

My Friday journey from the south-east coast to the Alps starts with a morning train ride

This is what I saw out of the train window.I saw a twinkling early morning sea. The tide is out.

Beach huts are huddled together. There is a heavy frost on the ground, it’s cold but bright. I love looking out of the window watching the world go by.

We roll past the ruins of Pevensey Castle, built on higher ground, commanding a view across the fields and to the sea.

We’re speeding along now, the coast on my right, low lying land grazed by sheep to my right. I see a heron perching still in the quiet of the morning.

Passing towns now, peering into back gardens, marvelling at the disused gym equipment, children’s trampolines, bird-feeders, the multitude of sheds and summer houses, the winter lawns, the smart conservatories.

Neat gardens, abandoned gardens,tiny postage stamp sized gardens, sprawling suburban gardens. They are all here. I can see them all clearly in winter, the fallen leaves exposing them. I see lines of washing being hung up.

Moving in land now, away from the flats of the coast. I see ploughed fields and gently undulating countryside. I see cows and sheep – all facing the same direction.

A pheasant’s bright orange-brown colouring is glimpsed. I see drainage ditches and small streams twisting and turning. And a pair of swans.

I see a brick works, the orange tiles and bricks neatly stacked up in wooden crates. I see a demolition team working on an industrial building, now a mere shell. Thundering through Level Crossings.

Railway buildings and sidings disappear from view. Scrub land runs alongside the train tracks. I see the gates of Harvey’s brewery, tucked in next to the river in Lewes.

Car parks, offices and industrial buildings fly past. Agricultural buildings, there’s an old disused barn. Horses breath in the frosty morning.

Glimpses of allotments, empty on a winter’s day, sheds in various states of repair, rows of cabbages and leeks waiting to be picked. The sun is higher in the sky now, blue sky dotted with clouds.

Pulling into Gatwick now, it’s all hustle and bustle. Station announcements, hubble and bubble of a dozen languages to a backdrop of construction work.

Travelators convey me into the shiny airport world.

That’s it, I’m through security. Hard surfaces and bright lights surround me. Spend. Shop. Buy.

The sales are on, but what would the flight attendants say about carrying a 6ft Harrods bear onto a plane. Would it fit in the overhead lockers? Or maybe I fancy my chances of winning a shiny red  whooshzy car.

What do I need? What do I want? Is it a Giant Chupa Chop? (this one is for Nia 🙂 ) Or maybe some water. A good cup of coffee would be a novelty

I play the guessing game. Where is that person travelling to today? I look out for my fellow passengers. We’re in sturdy winter boots and warm coats. A few weekend skiers with their helmets attached to their rucksacks. That’s it, called to gate now.

Along and around corridors. Up and down escalators, more travelators. There we are, the plane is being loaded. Sit back, an hour and ten minutes and you will be in Geneva.

From sea level to snow level in the Alps. Views of Mt Blanc greet me on Saturday morning. Bright blue skies and sunshine. A breezy minus.

A winter’s home. Two homes. Seemingly worlds apart.


  • They all reminded me my memories in UK travel again… How I love train journey… Thank you dear Claire, you did a such a great photographical set. Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

  • I was with you all the way – have done that journey oh so may times. And why is there only one lift at Gatwick Airport Station and such vile coffee in the airport?! Bet you are breathing a big gulp of fresh air!

  • We really do live in a beautiful corner of the country, eh? The outside of The South Terminal sure looks nice now – picked up my husband there last week after a business trip. So many changes! Have they also updated it inside?

    • I love Sussex, rolling countryside, beaches. Life doesn’t get much better.
      I tend to use the north terminal most, but they are doing a LOT of work to the outside, I haven’t seen much improvement on the inside for a while, they did do some work (more shops) last year though!

  • Sounds like it was a nice trip back to your Winter paradise, made even more so by your skilled pen. Good for you and thanks for bringing us along.

  • I LOVE travelling on trains, you see all the BEST BACKYARDS! This was a wonderful journey you took us on!! Wow.. Loved it! c

    • I adore train journeys, proper ones like long distance or sleepers, where you get into the rythm of the train, not the commuting kind 🙂 It makes me want to get my backpack out, and book a long haul flight, arrive in Mumbai and take it from there. Indian trains are the best!

  • Fab post matey!! You didn’t have to include the photos. It also doesn’t matter if you have never made this journey. Your words are enough to convey it to everyone. xx

    • Hi Lynda and thanks for the compliments. Sometimes I think we all need to stop and look, take in what we see around us.
      I didn’t manage to capture the swans, the train was going too fast and I was using the old, read SLOW, digital pocket camera.

  • What a lovely post Claire! I felt as if I was your travel companion. We await the next chapter in your winter adventure!

  • One of the things I love about Europe is train travel which allows you to see so much more. And blogging makes you pay attention to what you see.

  • I MUST get myself over the pond!!!! I’ve been fascinated by England since the first day i learned about the american colonists! Now that I’m middle aged and all my kids are adults, I’ve started saving money every month in my “UK Fund”—-this savings is inviolate….didn’t touch it even for Christmas presents! It may take me years to pile up enough $, but someday I WILL blog from Kew Gardens and take the trains! Thanks for a great post!!!!

    • Oh Kew Gardens is stunning. I haven’t visited for a few years, but you could go, and wander there for hours, if not days and never get bored.
      And your UK fund reminds me of a story – I met a woman in her late 60s in Australia, I was a mere 30. She was travelling around, and having a whale of a time. You see it had been a long held dream of hers to visit Australia, and everyone (her dad, her ex) said why bother, you’ll never get there, what’s the point etc. well the point was she had a dream. So she literally spent years saving up (she was a cleaner so not exactly rolling in money). And she did it. And loved EVERY minute of it. So you keep on saving, and make that dream come true 🙂

    • Thank you Kathryn, it’s lovely to do a “show and tell” about bits o fmy life. I’m looking forward to going home and taking a good walk along the coast 🙂

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