we've been here for about an hour now... about half an hour into the journey, the train beeped four times and the engine stopped. the eurostar sits now, like a limp caterpillar on a farming plain south-east of lille. every 15 minutes, the train shakes as another passes by at high speed - oosh-oosh-oosh-oosh-oosh-ooooooooh - and it's gone!
the electricity is out and the younger children voice their irritation and discomfort with each extra degree of heat.
adults search for questions to ask and find themselves reverting back to the same one over and over again - "when will i get home?" - but the fact remains: there's nothing we can do, so we may as well sit and relax through the wait! chivolrous men fan their girlfriends with magasines - certain parents shout "calm down" at their children, others invent them games to divert them from the boredom:
- imagine its the wild west and this is a train stickup...
- i spy with my little eye something beginning with...
- the less imaginaive shove an i-phone in their childs hands!
phone conversations the lenghth of the train relay the same message - "i'll be home late... the train has stopped with an electrical engine fault... i don't know... i'll let you know as soon as i can..."
and wallis and i sit with a beer in our hand, sunglasses on, playing cards to cover up the holland that's up to our eyes.
the first part of the journey was accompanied with the trip that is the beatles white album!
we reached the end as we pulled into bruxelles. i left wallis in a station café and jumped a taxi to leave francois' 1957 gibson (back when the company was worth a shite) tenor guitar in my home... she was leaving the tour today...
"hi stef, see you in a fortnight" as i greet my housemate...
"eh... hi... bye... we're going to see villagers tonight in the bota...
i'm jealous, "enjoy it!"
we have broken into led zepplin I, but i think i'm not in the mood for this right now - onto mark holis - that should lighten the weight of the heat a bit :)
... we've been waiting an hour and a half now, i've finished my accounting and am about ready for beer number two. some doors are open for air and we are waiting for a new engine to arrive from lille. the train inched forward a metre, maybe she has arrived!
the place where we are stopped leaves the whole train inclined slightly to the left. things keep sliding off tabes and into the aisles, everyone walks at a 15 degree lean and the piss that missed the toilet flows under the door and forms a little puddle opposite - the lights are out and it seems that most guys today are too lazy to light their phone up and aim!
18h10: we inch another metre forward... could this be our depart? we gain speed - the trees and fields that i've been watching take on new perspectives before dissappearing into the distance behind... next stop - lille!
mark hollis continues to unintelligibly mutter some lyrics that must be really increddible to sit on top of such a bed of music!