8.20am we are later in our journey now (Colombo to Galle) and the cast of characters has changed. Well, that’s not entirely true it's still Sleeper and Me, but we have a new set of people.

We have late twenties, confident, still choosing a wife I suspect (he has a fussy manner). I introduce to you the man I call Nut Muncher and somewhat implausibly we have Occassional Drum Player - he see me and stops, I look away, he plays louder. I ignore, he taps me with drum. I ignore. He nudges again and then starts to, well, I guess sing. At this point Newspaper Seller (Sinhala), virtually sold out by the morning rush, intervenes and chases off Occasional Drum Player.

The carriage is more empty now, but something I did not expect, and indeed assumed otherwise, has happened. The sun has, for now, lost its battle and the rain has colluded with the clouds to drench our journey.

Our window is hastily closed by Nice Man in Shirt. Nice Man in Shirt has been on the train all along.  It was he who told me I was in the right platform earlier at Fort Station, but with clearance of the seats he moves carriage and sits opposite me to have a journey facing seat.  We chat in shouted single words, me going to Galle, him I think to his work at Hotel Princess. We discover he used to be from Galle, now lives closer to Colombo. In no time at all we are best friends, and we part as best friends as he leaves the train at Aluthguma.

Nut Muncher (unfortunately named) is not entirely alone as the new commercial operative is Nut Seller. In fact there is a whole range of commercial operatives: Food Seller (Bread Rolls), Food Seller (Devilled Fish), Food Seller (Nut Seller), Food Seller (Bottled Water). But as with trains back home, no-one troubles them.

And I discover a new sport - as we pull into a station another train pulls alongside - barely 2 feet away - and there is whole series of people who change trains by stepping from one open carriage train to another - looks a risky business to me and I think my mother would tut if she saw me trying to do that. But I won't try, so she can relax anyway.

Now we as gather speed and another change has occurred - Sleeper has now become Grumpy Stretcher - I think his station approaches. But also we now have women and children. The women giggle when they spy me and I become target practise for the children to test their English. They say “hi”, and jump and scream when I say “hello” back. Mercifully it doesn't last long, but from the hubbub I can tell that they are in the next carriage. But it's also clear that they are being approached by Occasional Drum Player.

We have now stopped and Sleeper alias Grumpy Stretcher has disappeared down train - his plastic bag still here. Oh hang on, Newspaper Seller (Sinhala) returns with a new pile of what I think are different papers.

But I'm now joined by the Young Charmer - 23. Wants to know if I have a wife and children and claims to be shocked when I say I am 44. He chats and is interested, wants to visit England. He and I connect and are then joined in the carriage by a new character - Blind Drum Player - he plays and sings with his drum over his face and it’s a new level of emotional tug - so I dip into my pocket and when the playing pauses we both drop a note into the drum. Amazing how quickly Blind Drum Player then disappears. Indeed Occasional Drum Player has also disappeared - a better gig available perhaps. The school girls (immaculate white clothes) in the vestibule of the train giggle as they see me taking pictures, but after a time calm down and just chat to each other.

Young Charmer is Faisa - he lives with his mama, is on Facebook and is from the Berewela area. I am shown iPhone pictures of him with chickens, cooking food, topless making dinner and a video of his bright green and very noisy parrot. He smiles deeply and we talk. He finds me on Facebook and sends the request and is probably reading this now.

And then in the carriage we have Happy Cheerful Couple. Both early 20s, both confident and modern. They open the window now the rain has paused and relax for the journey. He has glasses, sandles, blue large checked shirt and light blue jeans. He is lean and quite a wirey frame. She also has spectacles, and is clearly very bright and sharp. Sandles and skinny grey jeans are topped by a bright pink t-shirt emblazoned 'always'. They chat to each other in a manner that is animated and the connection between them is clear.

Now we are in the south the deep dominant green of verdant Sri Lanka has taken over - the urban sprawl of Colombo way behind us. And we are moving now at quite a pace as we surge down the coast, Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa.

The scenery so strong, so green, so lush and blue and alive that I can barely capture it with my camera. Galle looks soon. It's time I just sat back and absorbed the atmosphere and the ride and made sure I don't miss my stop. Mr Matara would not approve of that!