Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Sound Of Bells ...

... klang, klang, klanging at a moderate talking pace, announces the commuter train from Fremantle to the city is close to Victoria Street Station. The bells come from the level crossing next to the station. Look left and you see the big boom gates lowering into place, stopping traffic, and red lights flashing. Look right and you see the train approaching, framed by the lights of Fremantle harbour and the sea. I am looking forward to getting out of the weather and sitting down. This morning started cool, windy and grey. The night brought a lot of rain but it has abated enough for me to risk the 1,600 yard walk to the station. I set off from the house with 20 minutes to get there; usually a brisk walk. Down Rudwick, right into Palmerston and up the hill. Left into Jimbell to avoid walking to the very top of the hill then right into Horgan which intercepts the long straight Victoria Street. Other people are just starting their day, having leisurely breakfasts behind dim yellow lit windows. I am walking briskly by this stage and quite warmed up, perhaps 1,200 yards to go. It's quiet in the grey drizzle but on the other side of the street I hear a steady paced clopping sound. I look over to see a young person smartly dressed in brown with a jacket, cloppy shoes and a determined look, glancing at their watch and setting a brisk pace. It occurs to me they too are determined to catch the 7:44 from Victoria Street Station.

It shouldn't really be called a Station, more like a Halt with just two long platforms and a small shelter on each side. It is small, completely unmanned, but I suppose because you can put money into a machine and purchase a ticket that it qualifies as a station. I am heading down the road and the clopping sound is following me and infecting my own walking rhythm. Its quite staccato, short quick steps; these are at odds to my own long strides. We have a different method for setting the pace. I feel a spirit of competition begin to course in my blood. I start figuring parameters and vectors. Can I beat them to the station? They are on the right side of the road, I have to cross over at some point. Their steps are shorter and faster, not to mention they are approximately 25 years younger than I am. Hmmmm. I speed up a bit, seeing what it's like to keep the same length of stride but do them quicker, focus on my own rhythm and stay in front. After about a hundred yards though I slow down again. At that pace I would be a basket case before ever reaching the station; not to mention the body odour :( Slowly but surely they are making up the distance and what was once 20 yards is now 10 or 12. I am going to lose this race because I have to cross to that side of the road at some point, and then I will drop further behind. I refuse to run because that would end the little challenge I have set myself. I have run quite a few times on other mornings, and it's nice to lope along for a bit and make up some time; a purely personal thing.

There is about 400 yards to go and I can't put off crossing the road any longer, they are about 5 yards in front of me now and after crossing I find that I am about 15 yards behind. However I plunge on and maintain the pace up the slight slope to the Stirling Highway, it's in my mind that maybe my longer legs can win back some ground on the rise. Not much luck but I do gain a few yards. My salvation comes in crossing the highway. It's a funny set of lights but they are not favourable when they reach them, however they know them as well as I, and after a slight pause reach the safety of the middle before pausing again. When I reach the lights the pedestrians are free to go and in crossing the tracks I am only 2 yards behind. We tag on at the Smartrider port with only seconds between us and I feel I have come a creditable second. Stamina, fitness and strategy. Gotta get me some of those.

As you have probably guessed I am back in Perth again. I had a few lovely all too short weeks in Canberra however the work did not continue. I am hoping it will come back soon. In the mean time I have had to go where the work is and so now I am working for BankWest in Perth.

When I grow up I think I would like to be a travel writer. Hahahahhahaha.


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