At Chester station groups of middle-aged men shuffle towards the exit, Racing Posts beneath arms, Debenhams shirts tucked in jeans, breakfast beers on breath.
You never get used to seeing an Underground train operating over-ground, there’s something not quite right about it; like being a kid and seeing your teacher in the supermarket.
You don’t need to look out the window as a young child down the carriage excitedly points out all the good stuff; “Airplane! …Digger! …Loads of cows!”
A woman in the upstairs kitchen of the Steam Packet pub butters bread with a disinterested yet habitual efficiency.
The combination of a wet tiled floor and inefficient footwear meaning you skid into the booking hall doorway like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
You can’t kill time at Retford station; you can only prolong its suffering.
A bearded man in a plaid shirt ploughs steadily through an entire pack of Marks & Spencer’s Dutch Shortcake like a gluttonous metronome.
At Derby we change drivers, the gruff sphere that got us here freed from his duties to toddle free in search of bacon as nature intended.
The first stop is Kirk Sandall, which sounds more like a fake alias than a village. “Hi, I’m Kirk Sandall… Kent Moccasin… Sergio Espadrille.”
Further down the carriage a woman on the phone pronounces Kettering as “Kuhtring”; the sound made by a dropped ukulele.
Outside the station a trio of taxi drivers each tear through Cornettos with the sort of reckless abandon they would normally reserve for narrow residential side-streets.
So heavy and so hard is the rain that it would render Peter Kay too sodden to come up with a reasonable anecdote about its density.