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Waiting room

My husband bought some fresh fruit from a roadside seller while I picked my way around a decaying kangaroo carcass, a dog skeleton, the remains of a campfire and debris left by wayward youth to grab another shot of the lonely old railway station at Ben Bullen.

From In a Waiting Room by Thomas Hardy
"On a morning sick as the day of doom
With the drizzling gray
Of an English May,
There were few in the railway waiting-room.
About its walls were framed and varnished
Pictures of liners, fly-blown, tarnished.
The table bore a Testament
For travellers' reading, if suchwise bent.
But next there came
Like the eastern flame
Of some high altar, children--a pair -
Who laughed at the fly-blown pictures there.
"Here are the lovely ships that we,
Mother, are by and by going to see!
When we get there it's 'most sure to be fine,
And the band will play, and the sun will shine!"

It rained on the skylight with a din
As we waited and still no train came in;
But the words of the child in the squalid room
Had spread a glory through the gloom. "


  1. An interesting Hardy verse: the optimism of youth.

    I note the grass growing inside and the angle of the old gate outside. I do love the grey of dead trees standing ...

  2. This is surely one of those instances when a centered photograph is the very best statement to be made. It's very zen, as if all the players have left the stage and now all that's left is the essence of the place. Thinking about the detritus you've seems other-worldly from where I'm sitting.

  3. Actually, how wierd is this: the walls remind me of .. of ... that place in Italy that was flattened by a volcano yonks ago ... Vesuvius ... for some reason I had it in my head that it started with P ... mmm ...

  4. Now you mention it the resemblance is there. Except the "frescos" left by the vandals are not quite as interesting as the artwork on the walls in Pompeii.

  5. I presume the railroad is not working anymore, otherwise the train station would be preserved, right?

  6. The railway line is well maintained so my guess is it is used by freight trains. Freight trains only stop at main centres and the small stations in between have fallen into disuse. Passenger transport in country areas have been replaced by buses. I remember there was a bus stop out on the road and I just checked the CountryLink timetable, the passenger bus passes through Ben Bullen at 10:33am each day.


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