The Commute

A railway goods warehouse turned into a casino and cinema, a 171m high tower that looks unbalanced, Stockport, some beautiful countryside, a wall of water, a poem written across the side of a building, a nice-looking town hall, another impressive water feature, the office.

So goes my new daily commute, which I'm a week into, journeying from Manchester to Sheffield and back again. The annual season pass, which lets me travel up and down the line as much as I like (might be useful for walking in some of that countryside), cost me £2744, and yet it still a flimsy paper thing which even the ticket seller admitted would probably need to be replaced a few times as the ink rubs off. No Oystercard here - mine is safely stashed away for use only on the odd trip to London.

Some people have suggested I'm mad to commute between cities, but honestly, it's not much more time and a lot less hassle than it was commuting in London. I get a seat. I can read the paper. Admire the view. Watch TV programmes downloaded from the BBC iPlayer to my iPod Touch. It's pretty relaxing. There's even a tea trolley.

Arriving in Sheffield, I have two options. I can either take the walk up the hill, or, if it's raining hard, take the LazyTram, which isn't that cheap, but is kinda fun. The walk isn't bad. Sheffield seems over-supplied with water features, the result of some kind of regeneration frenzy. I've even learnt to follow the regular commuters in taking a short cut through Burger King to avoid going up and down two flights of stairs at the station. It probably annoys the staff that work there, but then, the station shouldn't be so badly designed.

One distraction that hit me last week was a farmer's market at Barker's Pool, held apparently on the forth Friday of every month. It's no replacement for Borough Market, although a lot less flustered, and the ostrich burger I had for lunch was rather good.

Not bad this commute so far. I'll keep you posted.