Chatting up Chaps on the train..

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Yesterday should have been devoted to preparing for a talk I’m giving on Thursday as the final event of The ELmbridge Literary Festival (Vera Flethcer Hall, Ember Court Road, Thames Ditton 8pm.) but instead I had to go to London. I boarded the train at Weybridge to find only one seat available – opposite a young fellow with earphones and a woolly hat pulled low over his face.  Other passengers regarded him suspiciously as he had a way of twitching every so often, pulling his neck upwards and wincing.

I sat opposite and watched (casualty of the job – writer’s curiousity) and realised I’d seen that movement before.

At breakfast.

My sons, 17, 16 and 13, are all keen canoeists and the day after a really tough workout they wrap scarves around their necks and twitch and agitate if they’ve got stiff muscles. H was too lean for a canoeist: they have a very particular shape – broad shoulders/chest, narrow waist. And they tend to be mesomorphs. This chap was tall and lean.

He noticed me watching.

‘Rower?’ I asked.

He leaned forward, beaming. ‘No – water polo. I’m off to see my chiropracter. I’m a tri-athlete – professional.’ And he sounded so proud.

If I’d been his mother, I would be proud too; it was the quickest journey to Waterloo I ever had.

Alex Lewis is training to be fast enough to get onto the Olympic Team for the 2012 Olympics.  He’s bright, friendly, very personable and talks to strange women on the train.

I said I’d keep my fingers crossed and cheer him on when the time comes. So if he makes it – and I sincerely hope he does – please cheer him on too.

He deserves it.

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