am an enormous fan of public transport. Since I've never passed a driving test
it is my usual means of getting from A to B if I'm travelling any distance.
Other than that, I walk most places or share the cars of others. I didn't set
out to be green minded. When I was studying for my A-levels in Lincoln I caught
the train every day there and back and I think it shaped me for life. I used to
read all my set texts for English, make notes for homework, watch for
Lincolnshire's wildlife out of the window or have a good long natter with
friends. The train was warm, it didn't make me feel travel sick and I always
felt I'd accomplished something. No-one
at uni had a car and since my family came along soon after there were more
pressing financial issues than driving lessons. To be honest, apart from the
odd occasion, I'm really quite glad. Letting the train take the strain gives me
valuable thinking time and the opportunity to meet new people who would have
remained strangers had I gone by car. And it never ceases to amaze me how many
interesting people I meet and how we often have something in common. I didn't set out to be photographed with Ed
Miliband - Leader of the Labour Party and potentially our next Prime Minister -
last Saturday. I had gone to Lincoln to look at some old books but the man had
sold them the day before to a dealer, so I thought I might as well come home and
go up to the allotment instead. When I'd arrived in Lincoln, Ed Miliband was
doing a question and answer session on the High Street. I took a few distance
shots to show my family, listened for a while and then went in search of the
books. When I got to the train station my train was already at the platform,
despite there being about ten minutes till it was due to leave.There
were hardly any other passengers and I sat and waited for the train to depart.
Through the gap in the seats I could see a few people chatting and eating
sandwiches. Then it dawned on me that this was the same group of people I'd
seen on Lincoln High Street and that one of them was Ed Miliband. On a train.
The same train as me! I sent both my girls a text that said "I am on a
train with Ed Miliband". After he'd finshed his sandwich and the train set
off I could see him clearly between the seats. I heard him say that he was shattered.
I think if I was touring Britain prior to this week's county council elections
I'd be pretty shattered too. I thought my girls would never really believe
I'd seen him so thought I'd take a close up snap on my phone from the relative
anonymity of my seat. Just as I was lining up my shot he looked up. He asked if
I would like to take a photograph. I don't think I have ever been so
embarrassed. I'm not in the least bit sychophantic and hadn't intended to
disturb him in the slightest but he was so very nice about it. One of his
companions took the photo above on my phone for me and then we sat and chatted
about trains, his constituency of North Doncaster - where Si' works - and
was pleasant, he was interested and he listened. Attentively. He only moved
when I was due to get off. This blog has no political affiliation though it
does have a green agenda and I told him that I took my hat off to a party
leader who chose to travel by public transport. I think people are fed up of
being told what to do by politicians who think the maxim 'do as I say, not as I
do' was invented for them. We don't want to be patronised, we want to be heard.
And I can't fault Ed Miliband on that score.