Was on the train to London today and doing my usual activity for such occasions (i.e. dozing). I’d caught the slow one by mistake, which stops at most of the stations on the way, so was doing a bit more dozing than usual (not that I travel that regularly), then someone got on and sat next to me at Berkhamstead (I might have opened half and eye) …
Well 5 miles or so out of Euston the train stopped for a while and I started to wake up, then the lady who had sat next to me suddenly pointed across me (I was next the window) saying excitedly “did you see that? that bird?”. It then transpires that she had spotted an interesting bird in the urban trees beside the railway and we went on to talk a bit about cities, how rare it is to see some of what used to be typical birds for England (she was particularly pleased to tell me she had seen a wren once, and how small it was) and areas of the country that are preserved to allow birds to flourish.
It was such an unexpected event that it totally took me by surprise.
So, Justine (I think that was the name that came up on your blackberry) from Berkhamstead going to Ofcom (I presume from our short conversation) today (April 2012) – should by some incredible chance you happen to stumble across this post at some point in the future – thank you for a serendipitous, random act of enthusiasm over a simple event in the midst of a train of silent commuters in the middle of the city that made a total stranger smile at several points when recalling the encounter during his day.
Oh, and that report on how the brain optimises behaviours by building habits that I mentioned when you commented on the impulse to check your blackberry is here – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html