5 april 2001

thoughts in the night - and in a bus inside a train beneath the sea

06:18 Awake for an hour in the night after cave trip. Just read my last handwritten notes before turning to handheld - and my first few days of notes on it.

My impressions, of electronic notes:

-slower and more thoughtful

-changed topic, from secret worries to more public thoughts, re moment and circumstance, and more interesting to read.

-no hurry, this is it...

Of handwritten notes:

-much more difficult to remember,

-include useful (or vital?) resolves and reminders (but which I forget and often fail to enact, as too many)


Without doubt continue electronic notes and cease or diminish handwritten ones.

I look back to count words and calc number of words per minute:

45 minus 18 equals 27 minutes - for 104 words
equals 4 words per minute


Accept slowness of electronic note making and welcome its more thoughtful and discriminating tempo, and topic.

So now to try to sleep a few more hours, though I still feel somewhat wakeful.

Later that day:

On bus waiting to go through customs for Eurotunnel. Much rain here today. Continuous grey sky and strong wind. I see a customs official pat a wet-looking motor-cyclist on his back.

The illuminated signs continue to display their messages regardless of weather, or whether there is anyone (or no one) reading them:

'We wish you a'

'pleasant journey with eurotunnel'

'next departures 16.03', 16.20 '

'suivre - follow (electric arrow)'

The communication (if any can be said to be happening) is one way.

We move! - and now the bus drives about 200 metres inside the train. I get out as there seems to be no ventilation in the bus now that it's stationary with engine off (everyone else stays in their seats).

15.20 British time as the driver called it when I spoke to him just now. I asked about ventilation in the bus and he said there is none - evidently he is not going to open the window vents in the roof - so I go outside again, partly for air and partly to break the strange illusion that the bus is vibrating without moving.

I'm standing in the shuttle and enjoying cool air from a ventilator and a slight but sufficient visual sign of forward motion to dispel the uneasy illusion of vibration without travelling anywhere.

After some hesitation I went through the heavy safety doors to the toilet beyond the last shuttle compartment (which has opening sides for the buses to get in and out. On the grimy side doors are scrawled erotic graffiti of gay lovers and body parts - not unlike some of the cave drawings. Initials also.

Emerging from the tunnel into steamy windows and grey cloud and rain at ground level. The air in the bus is foul but no one complains - though a voice just reminded bus drivers to close roof vents on emerging from the tunnel.

I decide to write to the Eurolines bus and the Euroshuttle companies about the ventilation - ineffective as such protests may be... (I just can't stand this disregard of things human!)

Perhaps putting this note on my website is a better way?