Life has a few ' Where were you when ?' days . Where were you when Kennedy was shot ? Where were you when Diana's death was announced ? Yesterday was one of those days. Angus was on the train from Waverley. Outside the evening express the weather was unforgiving. Heavy rain, banshee winds and pitch darkness. The Scots have a special word for weather like this - 'dreich'. An onomatopoeic masterpiece of a word that says it all.
Somewhere just east of Kirkcaldy, where the tracks turn inland, a young woman in her early twenties with wild orange and blue streaked hair, stood in the aisle and announced in a shocked voice 'The Queen has died '. People looked up from their phones and switched to the news feeds. I'd guesstimate that until then 90% of people on the train were immersed in their own world of text and music.
There was a momentary murmur from half a dozen throats before silence fell across the carriage. The ticket inspector wipes tears from her eyes as do a few others. I'd expected there to be a divergence of views in this dissenting nation but there weren't. One student on his way to a rugby match in Dundee turned to his friend across the way and said ' I'd better call my Mum. She'll be so upset '. No words could sum it up better - a family affair like the passing of a granny. For most families the Queen has been a quiet presence for five generations. I'm sure there are families where that is stretched to six or seven. Like the Constitution she floated above the vulgarities of politics and politicians. A champion of public good against private reward. As with the Constitution there is much to be said for constancy. The remainder of the journey completed in silence bar the sound of the wind and the rain against the carriage windows.
Back at home we open a good ' Where were you when ?' bottle of wine and toast her memory. 'The Font' says words that haven't been heard for seventy years, 'God save the King'. The end to one of those days when the country starts a new chapter.