I spent quite a bit of time at Didcot station in the last couple of days. Heatwave, potential hazards (buckling lines) and the like. A minor rail travel meltdown. The Pumpkin fridge and air-con in Coach F on First Great Western succumbed to the great British bake off. This afternoon I was hanging out on platform 3 again with a colleague after interviewing a mother about her pregnancy/birth experiences in Somerset.
Thinking about LB.
I think about him all the time. He sort of fills every space, every crack in everyday life and more. I think about him at home and work. But these are punctuated thoughts. Open to distraction. Family, work, a meeting, an interview. A talk to prepare or article to review/write. These can interrupt the thinking. Sitting on a platform, with no train in sight, was clear space.
Just before the train arrived, a woman came and sat down next to us on the platform. I sort of recognised her, in a fuggy and heat ridden way. Any clarity beaten out of me by the day. It turned out she had taken part in my PhD research. She’d found out six months ago that ‘LB was your LB’ (different surnames) and wanted to get in touch. She didn’t know what to say (because there ain’t really an awful lot to say).
Her daughter has had a pretty shite time with serious unrecognised health issues in ‘independently supported’ living.
We had an odd/sad/funny exchange on the hot, slow journey back to Oxford reminiscing about those days. Days that were a mix of carefree, constraint and concern for our kids.
‘I don’t suppose you’ve still got that diary I wrote?’ she asked.
“Yeah, I’ll dig it out for you”, I said.
Ethics was less of a deal back then.