I’m finally home after a chilly trek to Cloverdale on the Coastal Express. The weather in the Confederacy took a frigid turn today. Autumn was caught off guard by an early winter storm that progressively worsened the closer we got to the Boarder Station at Fernwood on the Moor.
Through my compartment's frosted window I watched the station emerge from the billowing snow. The carriage jerked to a stop at platform 1 twelve minutes behind schedule. A voice over the train's intercom informed us of an additional one hour delay due to track conditions ahead. Most decided to spend the time on board reading or taking tea in the restaurant car. Others, myself included, saw this as an opportunity to bundle up and venture out in search of a good hot meal.
The station clock gave us fifty minutes before the whistle blew and the great steam locomotive lurched forward to its next stop at Cloverdale. With both hands in pocket and head down low I slid out of the station and onto Station Street in search of The Pig and Whistle Restaurant and Pub. I’d been there before but lost my bearing in the fine snow spinning circles in the bitter night breeze. Luckily several other passengers shared my hunger for good food and led the way to this favorite night spot for Fernwood's locals. After a few minutes in the night air we saw the old pub’s lights. A few minutes after that came the happy sounds of music and laughter. What could be better than a hot meal with good people in a warm welcoming public house known for good food served in hearty helpings?
A jovial older waitress wearing a white blouse and black dress led us to a table near a old rock fireplace. She was rather stout, indicating to me her enjoyment for the food she served. The orange and yellow flames tickled our memories into forgetting the weather outside. A simple menu highlighted our choices for the evening. I settled on the special. She chuckled at my choice.
“I’m hoping your stomach is as large as your desire,” she said while finishing the order and putting her pencil back behind her ear.
The Pig and Whistle rapidly filled with locals all wearing their better clothes for a Friday night out. Soon finding a table became all but impossible. It wasn’t long before two couples made inquiries about the extra four seats at our table. We invited them to anchor with us. Three stories into dinner and it seemed like we’d known them all our lives.
The Special arrived on a large platter, consisting of a good section of meat, two kinds of mash, toast, a side of chips and a bowl of the best beans served in the Confederacy. I tucked in, eating as fast as swallowing would allow and successfully finished the gut buster in time to make it back to the Express for Cloverdale.
The rest of the trip found me squirming uncomfortably in my first class compartment. My extended belly needed release from confinement. I took a blanket from the storage compartment overhead and draped it over my lap. With the Scottish tartan in place I undid my belt buckle and top button, releasing my constricted waist. Thirty minutes further down the track the rocking motion, combined with the natural effects from the beans, caused an unusual amount of pressure to build in my abdomen. This resulted in two or three visits into the corridor to 'make wind' so to speak.
It’s 8:33 P.M. I’m home near the canal, pondering my schedule for tomorrow’s Halloween celebrations. Nowhere in the world is this night of ghouls and goblins more loved than here in Cloverdale. The village's children are home preparing for their nocturnal foray through the haunted neighborhoods searching for those illusive, and seldom captured, full sized Wonka Chocolate Bars. I may venture out myself, hooking up with a group of children, bag in hand in pursuit of these Wonkabeasts.
Must be careful though. Best to approach the doors on my knees to better blend in with the natives I'll be keeping company with.
Before I turn out my light I look out the front window at the lights of this village on Somewhere's frontier. How lucky am I to have found a sanctuary where everyone knows your name.