A dark roof hangs heavily over London Euston’s concourse. Hundreds of sombrely-clad people stand and gaze – heads tilted upwards at 45 degrees – at the yellow-lit indicator boards, and wait for their train’s platform number to be shown. A surge of travellers then swerve round bags and still-waiting people to stride down the relevant slope to the platform and train.

Three days later, at Manchester Piccadilly, I sit at a café on the mezzanine floor under a light glass roof and look down on the concourse. A London train has just slid in towards the buffers. Waving arms salute each other from either side of the barriers, then hugs and smiles are exchanged as friends and relatives meet and embrace.

Hours later, at Bristol Temple Meads I fiddle with my phone. I’ve forgotten my BBC password so have to re-register and put in a new one. My train comes in as I listen to the Welsh National Anthem being belted out at Murrayfield. The carriage is packed with mostly young people, at least half of whom are plugged in to earphones. I watch Wales v Scotland in the Six Nations. The match finishes before my journey does, as the train is delayed.

Thousands of people. Noise. Congestion. Who are all these people? Where are they going? The words of a hymn come to mind: “Restless souls, why do you scatter…?” And my questions aren’t just about travel on earth. Who are we? What is our purpose? What is our ultimate destination?

And in case you’re asking and hadn’t heard… Wales won.


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