Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ursula le Guin meets KiwiRail

I think I've only read one book by Ursula le Guin, and I have no idea what its name was.  I seem to remember I didn't enjoy it very much, but perhaps I wasn't the target audience. I think it had a dragon in it, but I suspect more than one of her books has a dragon in it, since she's a fantasy writer.  Perhaps it's time to try one of her books again, and see if I've changed enough to enjoy what she writes. 

Since I've only read that one book by this author, it's unlikely I've read it while travelling on KiwiRail.In fact, it's probably unlikely I've travelled via KiwiRail at all, since that company managed to demolish most of the rail infrastructure in our part of the world.  Not economic enough, or some such, they claimed, but neither was it promoted as an alternative to road transport. I don't mind travelling by road, because you can stop when you like and stretch your legs, or check out some interesting thing you've seen on the way.  For instance, when we stopped in Ashburton on our last trip south from Christchurch, we had lunch in the lovely garden with the clock tower.  We'd stopped there before, a number of years ago, when my youngest son was still a teenager, I think. The difference this time was that we heard the clock tower doing its interesting striking and saw the fountains perform their regular dance and discovered that the Art Gallery is just across the road, and that there was a wonderful exhibition of pottery on at the time. So, yes, there are benefits to road travel.

There are many non-benefits: tiredness from driving long distances (especially on New Zealand's winding roads), a confined space, a need to concentrate all the time, an inability to really take in the view while driving, and much more. A train offers you the means to have a bit of shut-eye if you desire, to move about and stretch your legs while still travelling, no need to concentrate if you don't want to, and the chance to just watch the world sail by. 

We've been deprived of all this by KiwiRail, along with a number of other NZ citizens.

Anyway, that was all a bit of a ramble, and regular readers of this blog won't be in the least bit surprised by that. 

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