As I sit on this Virgin train, fuelled by tea, soft drinks and with more Pete Tong podcasts than I can shake my Ipod at, I am struck by the lush beauty of England in flag-waving, World-cup worshipping glory. The occasion? A trip to Newcastle to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary, taking in a concert at the Sage, and surveying the Millennium Bridge from our hotel room.
Patriotism is everywhere, and anticipation is at fever pitch, but the golden evening sun illuminates the pastures and the urban landscapes equally and there is a tranquility which descends over Rooney's land. We are spoilt of course: our seats are First class, courtesy of a school fete prize, which means that a waiter brings us our drinks whilst we idle the hours away.