Journeying South and West from our departure point – at a speed well above fifty miles per hour – left us feeling exhilarated; and the journey ahead was full with the promise of our travelling like an arrow to its Cornish destination – our adventures had begun.
Too excited to sleep, we began by listing ‘all’ the places we ‘had’ to visit, arranged in a largely alphabetical order; then we prioritised: firstly the castles, then the ‘recently found’ Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mousehole (always pronounce it ‘Mouzzle’), St. Ives, Perranporth, Polperro, Looe, ‘all’ the little ports; and, finally, the various ‘miscellany’ of places that we had only read (and dreamed) about in our literary wanderings.
“We must visit Carnglaze!” squeaked Cally.
“St. Michael’s Mount!” I proposed. “Rushing back across the causeway when it’s under a foot of water is an exhilarating dash to safety!” I’d never done it; but, it sounded like the sort of thing one has to do at least once in a lifetime.
We made another list of places to avoid – it was short, but there were still a few destinations that we didn’t want our steam train of an adventure to stop at. I won’t name them here for fear of upsetting the people of ‘N’ and ‘C’.
The train was passing stations young and old in a flurry of nameboards and waiting room cafés; we barely noted the names.
The train sped on into the night, unaware of the broken rail just outside of Newton Abbot.
In a couple of hours, our journey was going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.