Departure boards

I like departure boards. I like to see where trains and buses are going and the variety of their destinations. I live in a big city so there are lots of onward connections available by train and bus across this great land of ours. The bus station has Penilee, Perth and Pollok one after another while Central earlier tonight had London Euston next to Wemyss Bay, Cathcart and East Kilbride.

Sometimes I can’t decide where to go. I usually go on impulse because otherwise I will sit for hours with timetables and maps in front of me before ending up going nowhere. Even when I go, it can still be open for change. Last week I had a round trip to Galashiels because I fancied a run down to the Borders, the decision made as I had seen a bus and decided to jump on it. I’ve ended up in Aberdeen when I’ve meant for Dundee, York when the plan said Durham. For a while, most day trips tended to end up in Carlisle, then St. Andrews recurred for a bit. What those two places have in common are good travel links and a nice road home – across the border on a tilting Virgin Pendolino or across the Fife fields then through Dunfermline.

There are limits on my impulses. That can be weather, time, money or date. I usually go on Mondays when many cities don’t bother opening their museums. It’s why I don’t often go to Perth or Aberdeen, for example, fine places though they are. But usually I can think of somewhere. When in doubt, it’s Edinburgh, another city where I don’t often have to think of what to do. It’s torture when I can look but not go, hemmed in by work and obligations. But just scanning the board and picking one is what keeps me going. The excitement comes in not knowing quite what is coming next, around the next bend or on the next departure board.

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