Getting onto a train with a large suitcase, a bag of Tassotti Boxes and a Billingham camera bag along with computer and cables is, quite a precarious event, especially when the train is a fair distance away from the platform. ‘Mind the gap’ as heard so often at London’s Bank station could not be more appropriate here.
However, when on the train setting off from Eindhoven (from Maastricht initially and changing at the said station), the passing vista is as opposite from my previous stop off at Amsterdam as can be possible.
Firstly: the large stadium, gets me asking have I heard the words Eindhoven when thinking about European football leagues, Olympics and athletics etc, it is a mighty concrete oval stadium, with great prominence beside the station. Then there are the oodles of industrial warehousing buildings, old and new and still being built. I look closely to see if any are derelict, (as so often I see broken glass and graffiti) instead, I see in the windows in many of the white bricked warehouses, ‘artist looking’ studios, an arts festival is promoted on a large banner, wonderful lampshades hang in top floor lofts. Is this the ultimate in real loft living? Do the Dutch have it sorted?
I look around to see what other attractions I pass on my intercity train journey, its the warehouses, then, all of a sudden it is the countryside. Perhaps hiding behind those ubiquitous spaces is a town with ‘normal’ housing conditions and a high street?
Somewhere past, back near Maastricht I saw an utterly futuristic housing estate: diagonal roofs, solar panels, curved streets with communal gardens and allotments to the side – as standard specification. An allotment as standard, something that a 1930’s town would do.
The sky remains a nominal grey whilst I pass further towns of equal colour in architectural structure. I rest my eyes ready for the meeting of an experienced choreographer and a young dancer for the continuation of the Boxing Maastricht project.
As I near my destination, I smile at my neighbour in the chair opposite. She had said Gazunteight to me as I sneezed on entering the train.
She smiles back as we slowly roll into Rotterdam station. I leave the train thinking of my Grandma. "Gazunteight" I mutter under my breath. I shall pen a postcard to her at tea time.