Less Than An Hour From London

The Angel has a theme of the difference between urban and rural — particularly the contrast that can be experienced twice a day by people commuting into central London from some surprisingly rem0te areas, as I’ve just started to do again after more than a five-year hiatus.

I can now go from an office window with a view of Buckingham Palace (and the London Eye and Gherkin the other way) to a station that has one platform, one railway track and no ticket machine, let alone a ticket office. It does, though, have probably the best views of the Chilterns of any station and walkers can be up on the hilltops on the Ridgeway national trail within twenty minutes of getting off the train.

Walking is the best option for getting to and from the station as the Onward Transport Options map at the station shows, pictured below.

Little Kimble Transport Options Map
Little Kimble Station Transport Options Map

Note there’s nothing marked on the map in terms of facilities — apart from the H for hotel that denotes the Bernard Arms. (Walkers shouldn’t take the map too literally. If they were to take what looks like a road opposite the H at the bottom of the map, they’d likely find they’d be ambushed by armed police before long as it’s an un-signposted and very private road into Chequers.)

But just to show the stereotype of rural buses is still alive and well — and real — this is what the detail of the poster provides for alighting passengers.

The Bus Runs Tuesday and Thursday Mornings
The Bus Runs Tuesday and Thursday Mornings

So while, if you’re lucky, you can arrive from London Marylebone in less than an hour, you may discover you have to wait five days for the next bus – if it’s the one that runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1030. The bus to High Wycombe is of limited usefulness as it goes one direction but doesn’t come back again.

It seems like the transport options are worse than they would be on a remote Hebridean island or on top of some Welsh mountain but the poster must have been put together by someone from National Rail who was more than usually pedantic as it omits to mention that a three or four minute walk up the road will lead the passenger to bus stops that have a service every 20 minutes during the day between Aylesbury and High Wycombe — and runs until well past 11 in the evening. But knowing that spoils the sense of rural idyll in the same way as the makers of Midsomer Murders film around the location and omit the fact that almost the nearest thing that can be described as a village shop is actually Tesco’s.

3 Replies to “Less Than An Hour From London”

  1. Hi Mike
    The agent following up on me I took as a very good sign – I have no agent deadlines – unlike others who hurried after initial interest to get signed asap. I specifically wanted to avoid this and work to evolve my writing in my own good time. I have to mull things sometimes to get them to come out and onto the page and having an (unecessary at this stage) pressure isnt someting that will help me along.My mentor says its a really good sign – that my work has stuck in the agents mind for good reasons. That said I have now set my own deadline to complete all the edits and to have a manuscript ready to send by September.

    Hope alls well.

    Incidently – I feel the Certificate course at City gave me an excellent all round grounding in the whole process and really good time to write and to workshop new material. I think the reading event to industry profesionals at the end of the year was a good thing(for me). The really hard work began then after the course was completed but the course helped me get off the start line.
    Bren Gosling

  2. Nice to hear from you again Bren.

    We were talking about agents following up in the last workshop with Emily — Mike B had one calling him to check on his progress and he thought it was a good sign but was somewhat reticent because he was in the process of reworking some important elements of the story.

    It’s clearly a good sign if the agent has remembered your novel — it could be that he/she has had a conversation with a publisher and it would fit nicely in their list. You’ve certainly got a memorable situation and range of characters.

    I agree about the course. I think the most important thing it did was to make us think as writers — that this was something that we could all do.

    I do think it was unrealistic to think we could write a whole novel, from scratch, during the course. I know we weren’t assessed on this but it was implicit in organising the reading at the end that we wouldn’t be too far off. That’s why I thought it a bit odd that we were discouraged from completing existing work on the course. I started something new, as did a lot of other people. Ironically that probably put us further back in terms of having something publishable.

    I’ve certainly got enough words to make a finished novel now but I need to do more to cover the whole story and then maybe drastically edit. I’m currently rewriting a section I workshopped that people demanded had more interior. It’s been very tough.

    I’ve also started a job that involves commuting every day (at the moment) into Westminster so I’m finding time to write at the moment is quite scarce.

  3. Hi Mike

    Keep going with it – I agree it’s tough, especially with other distractions(like paid work) Ive been so distracted too of late.
    Bren Gosling

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