How To Train Your Train: A Stupendously Timely Update! 14-03-2016
You see my dearest and most beloved Reader, sometimes circumstances are such that the Conductor might go amiss and the smartypants phones of one’s travelling companions conspire to dissent from serving their duty as navigational aids, and the journey henceforth prickled with unpredictable perils and way too many unfactored unknowns that You begin to wonder that far from enjoyment, one has simply let themselves in for a ride from which a safe return may not be guaranteed!
Oh do stop worrying for goodness sake, You know I cannot resist the temptation for building up crescendos of tension before the final splatter of the true news! And it is a rather nice and beastly news for that matter, for three things have happened this very morning that suggest to me that TRAINS are a pivotal part of MY STORY AND YOUR STORY, the one that shall connect me to someone rather special! Ahem, ahem! ♥
First of all, I have just discovered that someone by the name of ‘Miska Khatun’ has flagged a Like for a comment of mine that I penned on the page of my favourite photographer who lives on this side of the galaxy. The comment was made early last year, so I am rather deliciously bamboozled as to why this chap or chapette has chosen to show interest in what I have to say about the world of ‘Porters’ at this point of time. How enormously fascinating!
Secondly, my favourite photographer on this side of the galaxy – or his admin – has hoisted up on his Instagram page an image of a poor lady cradling a child and who is totally petrified of a rushing train! We need to do something positive about this spot of unfortunate botheration!
Thirdly, the most magical gift I received I this morning, is that my beautiful and kindly friend, Agnes has at last sent me a menagerie of photographs from our London adventures in which she has very craftily captured my cheeky face and then has subsequently shown her friends and family back home in Poland! In a blink of an eye I have crossed borders it would seem! Giggle, giggle! ♥
And, therefore, before I commence to enjoy this stunning sunny day here in England with my mates, I wish to reassure YOU – the man who is in a bit of quandary and whose true face I have yet to decipher – that when we meet, I shall be more than glad to give You a tour of London and I assure You that, though I am not a slave to the digital world with its menacing range of social media tools, I have on me the auspicious blessings of Destiny and my infallible book of marvellous navigational powers, my fabled but oh so very true ‘LONDON A-Z’… ♥♥♥
I raise a toast of tea to the curly-haired Photographer who once wrote to me to say that I was a born Storyteller,
P.S. Yes, there are more voyages with friends to be had, watch this SPACE… ♥
Katie Sunshine and myself on board the London Waterloo to Winchester night train! Gosh, did we ladies make a racket in that carriage! Giggle, giggle!
Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2016
Photography Kindly Sent By © Agnes | 2016
On our final night in the intricate maze of the capital city of London, the hunger pangs had us grabbed by our starved tummies, a pleasing symptom – if not a rather annoying one at the time – that spelled out clearly and with ample credence that the three of us ladies had expended and exceeded our energies beyond our expectations while on this city break. Now the time had come to refill our bodies with the morsels of tasty grub and the warm elixir of tea! Ravenous, we sought food! ♥
“Ladies, we were supposed to arrive at The Real Greek restaurant for 5.30pm but, it seems like we are going to be a tad late, in fact, precisely half an hour late!” I informed my friends that we were about to forfeit our knack for punctuality, and yet it was spoken without the slightest angle of worry or grievance in my voice. So wrapped up we had been with sightseeing and, of course, plodding ourselves in cafes here and there, that we had lost all trace of our awareness of the fact that a pre-booked table was waiting for us in Covent Garden in the homely premises of The Real Greek Restaurant! Oops!
“Mazzy, I know! But listen, I have to stop by in that shop over there, they sell the most fabulous skin products that agree with me. I have a hard time finding them anywhere else!” Katie looked at me desperately and I honestly thought that was unnecessary, for I knew she was as swift as lightning when it came to the business of buying purchases. I did not mind the slightest!
“Of course, go ahead! We will wait for you out here!” With the announcement of my green-light decision, Katie sped off into the shop and rustled up those precious buys that had always proven to be as elusive as a blue moon when she had formerly attempted to track them down in our local area.
The night drew in fast and the air took on an unnatural chill that had both myself and Agnes clutch onto our thick blanket scarves and we pressed on them harder against our throat and chest, hoping against hope that this added attention would prevent any more of the cold wind from invading our weather-beaten skin.
Now, remember that I had mentioned at the start of my storytelling series for the half-term holidays that I would take up on rebellion and sashay forward and backward along the timeline so that what You read would fit in neatly into the jigsaw of Your day? Well, prepare for such a moment to occur right about now.
In the absence of our dearest Katie, and to cushion our minds from the deviancy of the cold wind, Agnes and I reminded ourselves of that highly animated and thrilling conversation that had taken place early on in our adventures, right in the middle of Waterloo Station, when, and in replication to the temporary disbanded nature of the group as it was right now, Katie had disappeared to the loos and Agnes had begun to talk of her book! Yes, she had very generously brought a book with her that she was currently much immersed in, and I was profoundly touched that my darling friend, in all the excitable anticipation and preparation for this trip, had not erased it from her mind. She had remembered! Hurrah!
“Tell me again about your book – about ‘The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow’ so that I do not forget its contents when I come to write this tale up in the future!” I rubbed my gloved hands together, blowing into them what little warm breath I could siphon out from, what I believed at that time to be, my incurably frozen lips and mouth.
“Mazzy, I think you come to a point when you are fed up with reading the complicated books. The books for mature readers and the books people study from. I have lost interest of them lately.“ Agnes had recently completed her Masters and I could quite easily picture her weariness for the type of literature that was driven by the more systematic goals of the world. “Like you, I like a good adventure story, especially ones with mystery and suspense!” Presenting an eminently accurate character portrait of my own inclinations in the book world, Agnes may not have known it at the time, but the conviction of her passion for the book that shone so beautifully through her dark eyes, had already won me over to the point that I promised myself to read her picking as soon as I finished the other outstanding titles sat on my desk.
“Tell me more about the narrative structure, how does it tug you along?” I had completely forgotten how cold it was out here, and that is no new thing for me when my mind is wonderfully led astray to other quarters of investigation! She recounted the primary events of the tale and since I did not have my journal in my hands I provide below of what I vividly remember from listening to my friend that night.
The story is set in Edwardian England and tells of a girl called Sophie who is left orphan and without income after her father dies, however her fortunes take a surprising turn when she lands a job at a prestigious shop for hats – a millinery by the name of Sinclair’s – based in the heart of London and whose owner is an enigmatic millionaire from New York. Sophie quickly makes friends with Billy and Lil and she feels that life at last is beginning to brighten up, opening up new prospects in both her professional and personal life. Alas, on the eve of the opening of this high-fashion boutique, a sharp and cunning thief has penetrated through the security and many things are stolen from the shop, including the most priceless item that was hoped to be the star attraction of the inauguration of the opening event – a diamond-encrusted clockwork sparrow! The immediate blame falls on Sophie and it is a race against time as she and her two loyal friends attempt to solve the true culprit behind this dastardly act of thievery ever committed on the streets of glamorous London!
“The writer does an excellent job of making the plot spread out in different directions and the range of suspects keeps growing, then suddenly it comes together again! It is amazing!” And to that our frolicsome mate, Katie, reappeared and looking down at the watch, we realised how drastically late we were and yet not a wince of anxiety passed our faces! We were built that way, eternal optimists! ♥
Pushing forward the heavy doors of The Real Greek Restaurant and stumbling in from the cold, I stepped forth with the bravado of the cavalry and explained to the manager that we had booked a table for 5.30pm.
“But you are late! Why did you not inform us before…?” He was not very pleased at all, however I detected a little vulnerability in his voice and to that I tunnelled through and whizzed up my next reply with the artifice of the Artful Dodger himself!
“Oh, well, I have a perfectly reasonable explanation for that: We are not from here and tried our very best to find your establishment, unfortunately we got terribly lost somewhere back there, and now that I am here I am so so so happy to have found you..!” I winked my dimple smile at him and he melted in the manner of an ice-cube on a hot stove!
“Ok, ok, your table is still here. Follow me…” He casually walked us to our table at the back of the room, a cosy spot with families and children sat around us, the laughter of life and the spirit of the evening in its most convivial form and it lit up the whitewashed walls of the quaint and warm eatery in which we took solace in the late hours. Thanks to Chiara – you remember our beautiful friend from Molly’s Den?! – we followed up her recommendation and it was indeed everything she made it out to be! We plonked down, satisfied and relieved, and enormously eager to taste the delicacies of the Mediterranean continent, to let it consummate our palate with victorious deliverance!
Our final night in the magnificent capital, London, overseer of countless brilliant writers of the centuries, and here we were, scoffing down our dishes in rapid zest, abandoning our ladylike etiquette to the wind, and then only to proceed to order a round of beverages. Before embarking on the trip, Chiara, with calculated poise, had used a spot of reverse psychology on me so that when the waiter asked me what I would like to drink, I said – and I strongly advise You to wear Your seat belt as I gather up the courage to say this, “I am going go for your house special, your famous Greek coffee served extra sweet, please!”
The other two friends of mine stared at my face as if they had seen the visage of a morbid apparition float before their eyes. I caught their gaze and simply replied in an indifferent tone of voice, without making a huge festivity of oddness about it, “Oh, blame Chiara!” We all let out a chuckle and for this once, I suppose, I ought to comply with that famous adage ‘When in Rome..’, and that is exactly what I did! ♥
As the night wore on outside, the bittersweet Greek coffee that arrived to our table in the tiniest cups imaginable, echoed stunningly the rich and dark mysteries of the unfathomable nocturnal hours, the leagues of untold knowledge we saw in towering kingdoms of books, and the coiling and convoluted narratives that belonged to a heroine out to restore and return to its true home a most priceless treasure of Time. And so we laced the conclusion of our literary adventures, quite appropriately, with one last picture of the books whose contents threw down a beacon of dazzling light, at times funny and contemplative, and then, in unison, we raised our three cups of wholesome coffee and let their ceramic sides touch and tinkle high above the centre of the table, advancing our motto with charisma and smiles:
“To the forever power of books and friendship…” ♥♥♥
“… And so we laced the conclusion of our literary adventures, quite appropriately, with one last picture of the books whose contents threw down a beacon of dazzling light, at times funny and contemplative…”
“… “To the forever power of books and friendship…”
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | The Real Greek In Covent Garden | London | UK 2016