We recently discovered an even better train service to the city of Sydney. It’s the 8.17am leaving Bowral but only has the 3 stops to Central. Not that it is much faster. Arrival is still at about 10am at Central, but at least it bypasses many stations, this gives an impression of speed without really achieving it. It gives one some Schadenfreude when the train races past many station’s platform showing a blurred image of anxious looking train travelers.
We undertook this trip yesterday. I got up early, made the coffee and some noises in order to rally into action my ever patient partner of many years. She knows my ways. Train trips I always look forward to as opportunities for new discoveries and are anticipated with great excitement. They certainly were in my youth when I, on numerous occasions, took boat Trips to Europe on Italian Liners belonging to the Flotta Laura fleet. After landing at Italy’s Genoa, I would continue by train, which at the time was the Continental Express. Mr. Diacomo from Cooks & Sons in Pitt Street always booked the journeys including the European Continental Express. The boat trip including the train from Genoa to Amsterdam or Stockholm cost 120 pounds! (240 dollars)
After we bought our tickets at Bowral yesterday, the train promptly arrived. It was a long train and surprisingly the windows were unscratched and carriages spotless. We noticed a few elderly couple who, no doubt like us, were scheduled to travel to Central Station. While the Bowral-Central run is hardly in the same league as the Trans Continental (or The Orient Express) it is still a train trip and for the inquisitive can still yield surprises…
One of the surprises was the number of elderly couples. Where were they going, and why, seemed a question that I kept asking myself? As usual with elderly couples, the woman partner seemed to lead with the male one happy to follow. Why is it that the ageing male gets behind the eight-ball in their final run up to the finish-line? Is it hormonal? Women tend to outlive males. Go to any old age retirement village such as ‘even-tide’ or ‘autumn leaves’ and it is rich pickings for any widower. The magazine for seniors is full of ads from fascinating women seeking living males, NS, ND, and NG but still kicking!
Back to the Bowral-Sydney express we discovered after arrival at the Country Trains Terminal in Sydney there were hundreds if not thousands of elderly couples, all carrying similar red coloured bags with ‘senior’s printed on it. My curiosity knew no bounds, especially when a live band was playing in that big arrival-hall, right next to the female toilets. There was a triple queue for the female toilet yet no queue at the males. This seems fair; if the female outlives the male there is at least some balance in knowing that outliving the male causes the female more frequent toilet stop-over’s in their dotage.
Anyway, the mystery of so many elderly couples arriving from all over Sydney and environs with those red bags did not get solved. On the way back to Bowral, there were the same elderly couples. The same dithering husbands, stooped with age, looking even more bewildered, skinny vacant trousers bums but resolute stout wives, indefatigable leading all the way. “Sit here”, they would tell hubby. After coming home I googled ‘seniors with red bags’,’ senior’s festivals’, ‘senior’s outing dates. All to no-avail.
We enquired about the phenomenon to our Norwegian neighbor. Oh, she said,” it’s the annual Sydney’s Town Hall music for the elderly. They give a live concert each year. We should make a date to go next year.
There you go.