Mud, mud, glorious mud – part two
Charlie looked up at the departure board for inspiration. Cambridge? Definitely not, but a Grand Central train to Yorkshire, that sounded more promising. He bought a ticket for what seemed to him an astonishing sum. When did it start costing hundreds of pounds to go on a train?
A brass plate on the engine proclaimed that the train had a name “Ashley Jackson – The Yorkshire Artist,” which made Charlie smile though he’d never heard of the man. There were only a few people scattered about the carriage and Charlie paused to study the faded print screwed to the wall before making himself comfortable in a window seat. The train company’s magazine lay on the table in front of him and he flicked through it, contemplating the pictures of glorious scenery promoting “James Herriott Country”.
It was warm and surprisingly quiet, and the movement of the carriage as the train left the London behind and headed north soon rocked Charlie into a gentle doze. As usual he’d been up since before six to reach the office at the unnecessarily early hour demanded by his boss. Charlie could never understand why long hours were worn as a badge of honour and not a sign that you were inefficient.
He woke with a start when the snack trolley rattled down the aisle. He bought a coffee and a sandwich and blew on the scalding drink thoughtfully as he looked out of the window. There were fields as far as the eye could see, some with crops that he could not identify (was there a difference between wheat and barley?) and others with animals that he could – definitely cows. He felt better already, released from the confines of the city, all he needed now was a plan. He picked up the magazine again.
By the time the train pulled into Wakefield Westgate station he had a plan, of sorts anyway. At the back of the magazine he’d found a feature on this artist Ashley Jackson, who was apparently famous for painting the moors around his home village of Holmfirth. If Charlie believed in signs, they seemed seemed to be pointing in one direction, so Holmfirth it was. Quite what he’d do when he got there was another matter.