It was at the beginning of last week that Auntie Beeb gave us the much-hyped two-part 2014 copy of Brief Encounter, being The 7.39. In case you were on another planet or maybe just not able to watch the BBC or had a better offer anyway, I'll give you a synopsis.
Man catches regular train to London, stands by seat to put coat on rack, woman sneaks into seat. They row. Next day, meet again and chat, thereby breaking Commuters Rule No 1. Do I really need to go on? I have to admit that my telegazing didn't get too much beyond this stage. It just didn't seem to have the je ne sais quoi of the Celia Johnson/Trevor Howard original. But it did jolt into the forefront of my mind a few memories that I had thought long forgotten.
It was a bit over 25 years ago that I started commuting from Brighton to London. For the first few years, I caught my morning train at Brighton's Preston Park station. I don't remember the actual time it was due at Preston Park but it must have been somewhere about twenty to eight. The train having started only at the central Brighton station, I had no great difficulty getting a seat. I fell in with a group who also, for the most part, came from Brighton although the last two boarded at Hassocks (I think). This was back in the days when trains had both smoking and non-smoking carriages and we were all smokers.
From London Bridge station I took the Northern Line tube to Old Street and then had a five minute walk to the office, but after some time I realised that I could catch a bus at London Bridge which took me closer to the office, so that is what I did. There was a very attractive woman - I almost wrote "girl" but she must have been in her mid-30s - sometimes caught the same bus. Whence she came - other than from the railway station - and where she went, I have and had no idea. But I was on a diet so a bit of a nibble on the side was right out of the question. Pity, really, because she was extremely good looking.
I never did speak to her so that's as close as I ever got to a brief encounter or a 7.39 moment.
Am I dreaming or was it really sunny yesterday? Today it is dank and foggy, not exactly the best of weather in which to go walking.