online: 21 july 2007
modified: 21 july 2007

12 july 2007 to re-attune our minds

15:58: ...travelling by fast train across northern France...

...there is an announcement that we will shortly be entering the Eurotunnel and that the time in the UK is one minute to four (an hour earlier than on the mainland)

...i have been contemplating the to me amazing sight of the French landscape and its very extensive electric power network... including an unusual occurrence of three (or was it four?) sizes of pylon and voltage running side-by-side, over large fields of vegetables and grain... (probably varying from about half a million volts to a few hundred)...

...small woods, often clustered on low hills, amid extensive plains of agriculture, largely without hedges... all that's left, i imagine, of the cold wet rain forests long ago cut down in northern Europe the tunnel beneath the sea... suddenly the train has reduced speed... what a dangerous place we are in, should something go wrong...

...after 20 minutes in the tunnel the train accellerates... i suppose we will soon be in the chalk hills of Kent and the smaller and more human scale of Britain...

16:25 ...and now, suddenly we're in the South Downs... the woollier clouds, the smaller electricity pylons, the cottage architecture, into which this piece of international tunnel engineering extends at a higher speed and a larger scale than seems natural to these islands... (the British habit of assuming that the British scale is the natural one!)...

...i look at a small field of black-and-white cows... and other fields in which a crop has been harvested into cylindrical plastic bags, some black, some turquoise, each about the size of a car... I do not know what they are called, these visible signs of industrialised agri-business, but it is difficult to like them, or to see them as harmonious!

17:00 we approach London there are polite words of farewell from the crew - how nice to hear French, Flemish (and did i also hear German?) as accepted languages for public announcements on a train in Britain... it's time to re-attune our ears and minds... and to accept the meaning of being European citizens, now, and also mobile global citizens, reluctant as we may be to give up exclusive rights to the piece of land we were born on... while assuming new rights to visit, and to inhabit, all other pieces of the globe, and outer space!

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