My busy but newish train slid out of the tunnels near Lime Street and past several local stations this afternoon. The banks on both sides of the track were still full of autumn colour despite it now being November. Today was the first day I have worn my winter coat after a very warm October when it was not needed. The sky was blue with white clouds but as it was late afternoon the light was fading fast. Just as we passed over the M57 there were large areas of vacant brownfield sites: we are in great need of more homes but there is no money for it up here. By the time we had got to St Helens, the Scouse accent had disappeared (there is quite a tight isogloss around Liverpool) and we are into Lancastrian territory. The red sun was slipping below the horizon as we drew into Wigan North Western where I had to wait a while for my next train. Once it arrived I was on board and settled down to read a PhD thesis I have to examine. At Carlisle there had been heavy rain recently and the station was gleaming where the light hit wet surfaces. When I arrived in Edinburgh the buildings were illuminated in different colours – purple for the castle and red for Jenners. A quick walk to the mound and I was on the bus and in the flat very quickly.