There used to be a donkey in the field next to our house. Jacob was his name. On summer mornings, before the SatNav sycophants and M1 detour merchants ruined the early countryside idyll with their relentless rush hour racing, as the gentle breeze shimmered in through the open window on the welcome dawn air, Jacob would wind up, like a high jumper at the top of his routine (all that was missing was the clapping crowd getting behind him) and just absolutely go for it in the most sonorous, yet almost breathless manner.


He’d do this a lot. Sometimes it annoyed me, but old Jacob’s wheezy rallying cry was infinitely preferable to the sound of the soul-jarring traffic.

Perth. Second time around. It seemed a good idea when I was booking it. I figured it would break me in for the longer leg of the journey between Australia and Blighty. I also planned to ‘go big’ for the last night and actually get a proper hotel room, you know, with tea and coffee making facilities, a TV to watch re-runs of Midsomer Murders, iron, trouser press, flailing room and the like. However, me being me, these funds were absorbed into the aftermath of the SCG defeat.

So I’m back in the hostel. Not the sweat box as referenced here a month ago. But another one. The YHA, a plush looking facility next to the hospital on Perth’s Wellington Street. Settling down to some sleep, a persistent hiss begins to boar into my skull. The hiss grows louder. Louder. It’s joined by a screech. Metal on metal. The shushing shush of metal on metal. And then the sound of the a pooh stick being carried by a child, dragged back and forth along the railings. All this is the friendly warm up to the main feature which is hurrying, unstoppable, to centre stage.


Oh wow. That’s loud. That’s Jacob with a megaphone. With Coldplay’s stadium sound system for support.

My grandfather always used to love the railways. Right now, I have to say, I’m not a fan.

This continues, gratingly, on a loop for as long as I can remember. And it’s still there when I wake up an hour later. I’m transported to Chicago as I tiredly sculpt the hopeless pillow around my head and search for sleep.

Which is hard. Because, typically, there’s no air conditioning.

I really should’ve titled this post, ‘And So Say All Of Us…. The Return Of The Jolly Good Fellow’, but, bored of the whole nonsense, you might have sloped past it in a trance of ennui. Also, it seems a great opportunity to crowbar this little beauty in.

Now then, do any of these trains run to the airport I wonder?