Monday, 4 June 2012

Trains and Boats and Planes

We have taken many great train journeys, from big ones like the journey across the Deccan Plateau from Bombay to Madras to little ones like the North Yorkshire steam train.    And  I remember with special affection the little rail journey in 1983 from Beaufort to Tenom in Sabah.

Tenom Railway Station
We have enjoyed spectacular sea crossings too -  from Wellington to Picton in New Zealand and on my own I made the romantic journey from Marseilles to Corsica in 1972 where I got as sick as a dog and threw out my dinner into the Mediterranean Sea.

As for planes, that started in 1972 as a huge thrill and now it has become one big yawn, herded like cattle from one airpen to another.

Now, when you get to the autumn of your years, one's mobility is circumscribed not by distance but by the state of the knees, the back, the hips and umpteen other parts of the body.  It is no more a question of traversing wild open spaces by trains or boats or planes.  It has been reduced to modest little steps  (with the aid of various thingamajigs like a Zimmer frame, walking sticks and a wheelchair)  like hobbling from the bedroom to the bathroom, from upstairs to downstairs and vice versa.  Little sorties to the kitchen for a cup of tea are such a treat.

And when you refuse to succumb to the impediments of a decrepit body and you make a dash-it-all  traipse to the Park or the shops, then you deserve a pat on the back  (Ouch!) even though you pay for it later with a pain that yells at you for being foolhardy.

But then you observe a friend like Loz, a few years younger than us, stuck in a wheelchair for the last 30 years.  He never fails, whatever the season, to 'take a walk' to Victoria Park with his dog every morning.  His gloves are worn from grasping and pushing the wheels of his wheelchair as he 'strides' to the Park.  His dog doesn't need a leash.  He knows how to walk at the same pace as his master on the pavement and when he gets to the Park, he goes hell-bent-for-leather for a good run, while Loz 'ambles' along the path in the Park.  Looking at that dignified joy for life, why should we complain?

On June 12th, we take another plane trip to Kuala Lumpur.    This time the spouse has a wheelchair - and this time he travels upmarket so that he can keep comfortably horizontal for most of the 16-hour journey.  I shall keep a close eye on him from the other side of the partition to make sure he doesn't run around chasing the stewardesses!!

Just two days ago, Maria and son Ariff, Hidayah and hubby Faiz played musical chairs in the KL house.  They have been shunting boxes of books, a huge bookcase, and a heavy metal 'treasure chest' to make room for a single bed in the Library - to make a day care room for Uncle Iain.

From here Unc can stagger along to make little forays into his garden,  totter to the kitchen where he will brew loads of  teh tarik for the young ones.  Most of all, the cats .........

Rusty and Socks

Professor Socks the academic reviewer

Comot the resident hedonist
.............especially Comot and her little fellow-travellers (aka fleas) to give him mental stimulation and buckets of love.

I cannot end this post without thanking with all our hearts Maria (orange top in the back row), Hidayah and Faiz  ( the laden couple standing to the right) and little (?) Ariff  ( in the greenish-blue t-shirt  in the front row)  for all  the caring help and support.  Bless your cotton socks!!

We will miss summer and our home in Leicester but it will be wonderful to get home too - on a plane and on the wings of a prayer.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mak Ngah & Uncle Iain,
He he he... Thank goodness we didn't send you the photo where some one(s) melepak on the bed... We just wanted to make sure the bed holds! Does that sound convincing enough?! He he he...

Anytime, anything, even a ride into Putrajaya Mak Ngah. Our pleasure and our honour and Ariff's biceps, if any, ... Till we see you next week!


anak si-hamid said...

Dear Maria, mother-of-five,

I always knew you'd all be up to no good just like many, many years ago.

Still, thank goodness you lot still have the biceps and the brains (?)

Anonymous said...

See you soon, Makngah & Unc Ian...

Mom of two

Anonymous said...

your pic of the tenom station prompts this.....
the railcar into tenom, which i took a couple of times in the seventies, was something to remember.....sheer drops to the river and metal wheels that screeched against the rails around every corner adventure in itself....
enjoy your stories...

anak si-hamid said...


Thank you for the comment. Wonderful to find a kindred spirit who loves trains.

I'm glad you reminded me of the 'sheer drops to the river' because I now recall the Padas Gorge and how they were constructing the walls when we were on that train.

I also remember the schoolchildren who boarded the train for school and for going home. Lucky kids, what a wonderful way to grow up.

One day when we feel stronger, we'd like to go back.

Uncle ZT said...

Your Maria seems familiar...She resembles my classmate on 1981-82... Anyways, I haven't been here for some months due to work commitments. It's nice to be back and chilling out reading your postings!

anak si-hamid said...

Hello Uncle ZT,

Welcome. Am glad you found your way back to the blog and thank you for the bouquet.

As for Maria, she was just a kid in 1981/82. If you were schooling in Batu Pahat then, she might just be your old classmate!

Have a good chillout - real cool!!!

Uncle ZT said...

What a small world, ma'am. Your Maria WAS my classmate! And according to her, you were partly responsible for introducing Beano, Asterix, Roy of the Rovers, etc to an impressionable young boy that was me...! Thank you!

anak si-hamid said...

Dear Uncle ZT,

Thank you indeed!

What a small and WONDERFUL world it is.

I believe all little boys and girls who read the Beano, Dandy, Asterix, Tin Tin etc grow up to happily crazy all-rounders - that's speaking of Maria and her siblings only.

Hope you're passing on the secret to your little ones.

And I still keep those comics here with me in KL. They travelled from Singapore to Leicester and finally to KL.