Train Stories – Sticks?

It’s not long after 7am on a beautiful spring morning, the sun is low but rising in the cloudless azure skies over the Scottish hillsides as I thunder through the countyside from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

Every now and then I pass a few men wandering across the undulating gentle hills, sometimes standing together but mainly walking on their own carrying their odd looking tall rectangular bags, or pushing them on some sort of two wheeled trolley.

I feel slightly envious of the men as i wish i was out there in the sunshine, walking on those long green surprisingly well manicured fields, with the small streams of water ambling through them.

With closer inspection, I notice that their bags seem to contain a collection of sticks, formed from metal or wood, with a variety of differently shaped endings protruding from the bags. I can see that some of the endings are solid and some are sharp.

I’m guessing that the sticks must be used for a variety of purposes?

Are these some sort of tradesmen carrying their tools to their work?

Many of the men seem to be wearing brightly coloured or fluorescent clothing, pink or yellow sweaters and equally as garish trousers. Their job must be quite dangerous if they have to wear all this high visibility clothing.

Then I notice every now and then a man stops, takes one of the sticks from his bag, takes careful aim and whacks something small and white a little further along the green field.

The men seem to be taking turns to walk along the field and whack the small balls a little further along the field then knock them into a little hole and lift them out again.

What is the point in that?

I suppose it gives them something to do while they are walking to their work.

Occasionally one of the men stands in one of the little sections of beach that seem to have been mysteriously formed at random places along the manicured fields.

For some reason one of the men is attempting to empty all of the sand from the small dune on to the grassy field.

Unfortunately his stick isn’t very efficient for this purpose and he seems to e becoming more irate with every swing.

After a while i realise that there aren’t any women walking around helping the men with their task.

For a moment i wonder if this work is sexist or somehow protected from the gender laws?

But I can’t imagine that there would be any fields where the management would be so outdated and restrictive that they would prevent women from walking along their green fields and hitting the little white balls .. can you?

Then it dawns on me that the reason that I can’t see any woman on these beautifully manicured grassy fields is that they are far too sensible to be walking around a field at 7am dressed in bright fluorescent clothing, wearing funny shoes and carrying a heavy bag of sticks.

I mean how stupid do you have to be?

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