Imagine that you are strolling
through the Spring garden
at Great Dixter,
admiring the tulips
when you hear this plaintive sound (from 2.04)
distant in the valley below
and it is summoning you.
This is the sound that you heard from your attic window at night
when you were a child,
only then it was from the great steam trains
running out of King's Cross on the Great Northern Railway up to Scotland.
So you insist that you must find the train
and take a ride from Northiam to Bodiam and back.
And luckily there is only ten minutes to wait for the next train.
It is just a long enough ride to recall a journey down to Cornwall
for a summer fortnight in Polperro.
You were six and packed your little brown suitcase,
with the brown gingham paper lining
and felt very smart in a two piece light green 'suit'
and had to be told not to lean out of the window
because of the smuts.
The big tin trunk had gone down ahead of the family
and you wore your school uniform until it was time to leave
because all the summer clothes had been packed.
That's how old I am.
And it only takes a whistle to telescope the years.