An hour and a bit sitting on a train full of people in suits. Somehow I always seem to have an annoying estate agent or wannabe property magnate sitting in the next bank of seats yakking away into his mobile phone about rental flats. Just shut up! Annoyingly this railway doesn't have any tunnels on it to kill his signal.
I like train journeys. There is so much to see, a continuously unfolding vista of the side of people's properties that don't face the road. Fascinating stuff. And a handy catalogue of British graffiti tags, categorised by area. Mostly silly little scribbles, but the occasional splash of bright colour, a work of art writ large over a grimy 1950s factory.
The miles are counted by yellow posts by the side of the line. One every quarter mile, the distance from London at the top and the quarter underneath. These seem to come in regional variations too, sometimes the quarters are in Roman numerals or black dots, other times as Arabic numbers. It becomes a game, to see what trackside feature will be at each post as it rolls past.
In a complex feat of mental arithmetic I timed the interval between posts to calculate our speed. Just over 90 miles per hour. This is just a local train even if it's not the dreaded all-stopper, it's not one of the 125 miles per hour High Speed Trains. The Age of the Train will have to wait.
I've been seeing the counsellor at the GIC. The usual walk across the park, the same waiting room. A nervous FtM bloke there for his first appointment. My counsellor is very good, now we've got past the initial "Tell me your life story" appointment we're getting down to business.
As always with counselling, sometimes you have to deal with stuff you don't want to.
I find that I'm not at my happiest in the days post-appointment. The counselling is bringing my life into sharp focus and there's little comfort in what is to be seen. It has become rather obvious that my wife and I are in a limbo in which neither of us is particularly happy but in which we are both hanging in there for each other. And the realisation that this situation will inevitably deteriorate unless something changes is not a happy one.
Still, I guess that's why I'm doing the counselling, to get to the root of it all and see a way forward.But that root seems an ever more uncomfortable place to be, and I seem to be the only one who hasn't fully grasped it. My counsellor unwittingly echoes my wife in her assessment of my situation, something which shook me to the core.
For the first time in all this business I'm no longer sure whether my path is the right one for either me or my wife. I think the next few counselling sessions are going to be somewhat on the heavy side.