• Anu van Warmelo

Not Fade to Grey

On my journey down from London this week, I was on one of the new high speed trains, which I hate. There are several reasons for this, the most relevant here being the lack of aesthetics, reflecting an element imbalance. Earlier in London I had marveled when an African woman boarded the overground train, dressed in traditional attire. Her vibrant colours contrasted with the grey-black-blue uniforms on everyone else, hers the one area of brightness within the carriage. Here, you can see how even the basic colour scheme is devoid of warmth:

The roundness of the compartment the whites and the greys are all of the Metal element. This is not an easy element to relax within (think of the white walls of many waiting rooms). To add insult to injury, the only yang colour is the thin strip of green, which is Wood, which is controlled/destroyed by Metal. The overriding statement is of the triumph of machine over human.

In contrast, at the end of that particular journey I was waiting at what was potentially just more drabness: a bus stop on a busy road, grey and dominated by cars. Yet here opposite me was a house painted in lilac:

This is subtle, it is hardly Caribbean in tone! But the lilac has enough warmth of Fire to energise the row of houses. Furthermore, the Fire element nourishes the cube Earth element of the house, which in turn nourishes the white Metal of the neighbour. It is amazing how even when Totnes doesn't consciously try (I doubt whether Feng Shui was involved here!) it often gets it right.

As for me, I'll try and avoid the high speed trains when I can and even go for the old-fashioned 'rattlers' when I have to. The other possibility is to board wearing African-like garments, which would require a considerable overhaul of my wardrobe...