Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Perth Passengers ...

... your next service to Perth departs in 2 minutes. The announcement at Claremont Station is more informative but less exciting than the one I used to get at Greenwood Station. The Claremont Station is an oldie, adapted to modern trains from the steam era. It's much smaller than it used to be but still has it's historic infrastructure. The old works shed is still off to the side, currently unused, but still with it's Australian Boiler Company shield on the side. The original station house, a grand old building is also sadly unused. It would be a great civic resource. My train journeys are usually interesting in one way or another. A part of the trip takes several minutes to pass the enormous Karakatta cemetery with's its historic headstones flitting past the windows bathed in sunshine and shadow in the early mornings. There is also a smattering of characters riding the rails along with us mundane travellers. The fun ones are the simple fellows who love to 'announce' the stations along with the train's internal speakers. You can tell they are proud of getting the words and intonation just so. One fellow today set up a loud humming and vocalising that mimicked the sound of the electric motors as they accelerated along the straights and slowed slightly as they passed through urban stations along the way. It was beautifully musical with his harmonising to the thrum. It was quite lulling as the train rattled, rolled, lurched and clacked along the tracks.

Most days I walk to the station from my lodgings through leafy Claremont. I am privileged to be living in such a place. Typically only the very rich live here. I have a mile long zig zagging path from Riley Road where i live in unabashed squalor to the commercial area and the station. Agett Road has to be my favourite and longest part of the walk; and Number 19 Agett Road is to die for. Its a vast old federation house on enormous grounds, it must be a couple of acres. I cannot imagine living in such luxury. I have never seen it's inhabitants as most of the property is protected by a high wall. I get glimpses through the gates and foliage of the small part of the low walled boundary. I can imagine having to log your whereabouts with the police if you said "I am just popping out to the west garden to watch the gardeners weeding!", picking up your binoculars as you leave. The roof line stands proud behind the ivy, creepers and trees; resting solidly. Other favourites are the hacienda just down the road, standing out among the others for being so different. There is also the unusual two storey slate roofed swiss style mansion which is glimpsed through the gates as I pass. Lastly but not least is at the other end. A classic french style residence built in 1905 imposing itself on the corner of Agett and Chester Roads. 1905 is embossed largely on the top of the corner facing wall.

Turn right onto Chester, left onto Princess, quickly across the road and take the path between the primary school and the tennis courts, emerging into an old park with no name that I can find. It has ancient trees lining it's walk way. A pair of old gums stand out for something that I have only just noticed. I call them the ballet trees. For all their lives they have been slowly twisting anti clockwise. Imagine if you dare, holding a piece of tubular licorice; before you stuff it in your mouth. One end is held still while with the other you slowly twist it. Notice the lines appear spiralling to the top. This is what you notice with these gnarley old gums. They have been dancing quietly through the decades performing an arboreal pirouette, laughing and giggling in their way at the human ants scurrying and zooming through the months and years. Clever old buggers :)


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