I spent last night on a sleeper train from Narvik to Stockholm. Seemed a pity to be in Scandinavia and not at least have a look in at Sweden. Narvik was packed out for its winter festival, which is somehow connected to the navvies who built the railway, and means a lot of people wander around wearing slouch hats and occasional fancy dress. I missed the main event of the first night, which was a Norwegian country band, but did manage to catch some hippies on stilts setting off fireworks.
Once on the train, I wrote a letter, listened to some music and slept fitfully, thinking as I did so of all kinds of exceptionally interesting things that I could write about. One of them was to do with the fact that when you are trying to sleep in a train seat, each time you wake up and change position, it immediately seems like you’ve found the best sleeping position in existence, and you can’t believe you never found it before. With the magnification of tiredness, you feel like you’ve cracked a much more important question, like the Enigma code or how to find things in libraries, only to wake up an hour or so later in great discomfort and find a new best ever sleeping position.
I thought of lots of things that were more interesting than that, but couldn’t find my notebook, so scribbled them down on the back of a receipt for a vaccination that I got at McDonalds, while an old work colleague hooted the horn of their minibus impatiently. For some reason at this point alarm bells did not ring, and waking up round 6am I found thoughts and receipt long gone. I hate it when that happens. It’s like when you drag yourself out of bed in the morning, get a shower and get dressed then realise you dreamed it all and you have to go to the effort all over again.
Still, Stockholm is a pleasant city.