If boarding an Olympic flight at Heathrow, the Greek accents, illegible safety signs and stewardesses’ make-up tell you straight away that though you maybe sat on west London tarmac, culturally, your journey to Greece is to a large extent complete.
And so it was that I found myself on platform 4 at London’s Euston station, surveying a long red Liverpool-bound Virgin train, looking for the best place to stow my bulky bike bag.
I asked one of the train’s uncomfortably dressed ‘hosts’ for help and the answer came back in a soft scouse accent that immediately reminded me of my destination for the weekend.
“Go right to the end of the train, just behind the driver, and there’s somewhere there” she pointed out in distinct Merseyside tones.
“Great. Thanks.” I said as I began hauling my heavy cargo to the other end of the long platform.”
The friendly scouse voice continued over my shoulder. “What’s in the bag?”.
I looked back.
“Have I seen you before with that bike? I’m sure I’ve seen you before.”
“I’m not sure.”
“No, I’m definate I’ve seen you on this train before with that bag.”
There was no way she’d ever seen me before, but her friendly insistence and lack of London aloofness was unmistakable.
There I was in central London suddenly feeling like I’d arrived Liverpool. I boarded the train and the Ringo Starr intonations of Gerry, our ‘catering manager for this jair-ney’, confirmed that this train, with an apparently Liverpool-based crew, had already brought me to my former northwestern home, before the train had even left London.