It’s hot. So it should be, even in England. It’s July and nearer the end than the start. Warnings are out about heat waves and taking care. 30 degrees would be not much to make mention of in Australia. And while I soak in sun wherever I can, hear the forecasts with joy and feel my spirits lift with the temperature, around me are voices of complaint. “Isn’t it awful” said a large overdressed woman to me yesterday in a way that assumed I’d agree. “I love it” wasn’t the response she hoped for and our brief relationship ended there. I’d flouted the rule that talk of weather is in part intended as a bonding experience here in England. I had forgotten when overseas for so many years the whole talking about weather thing and was amused by how much there seemed to say about it, especially when it seemed to be simply shades of grey and rain. What is there to say about that? Six years back now and I can confidently hold my own in such matters, when I choose to.
So here I am on a train heading south of London to spend the evening with family. Warm tired looking commuters all around me. A glimpse into the life of people who make this trip every day, squeezed into every nook of the busy train. A few have heads nodding already . Many like me attached to their iPhone communicating with people that aren’t here. It’s quiet. No chatting here. So many in a world of their own, perhaps going over the day or the week, perhaps already thinking about the evening and weekend ahead or are they fantasising about a fellow passenger or more likely from some of the expressions maybe thinking of nothing much at all.
“Hot isn’t it” an older lady with a well travelled case said as she sat down opposite me, her face flushed and hand flapping to create some kind of breeze. “Indeed it is” I responded, surprised to find myself simultaneously shaking my head as if dismayed. She returned my smile. A satisfied smile. The interaction had gone as she’d hoped. We’d bonded.