I’ve been lucky enough to have just spent another few days down in London, this time meeting up with several bloggy friends, experiencing a street art tour, Crystal Palace Park and slowly working my way round the awesome bakeries that the city has to offer (which of course, was breakfast). It was only a few days after The Bloke and I got back from his 50th birthday Wicked and Harry Potter extravaganza, and it felt like I had just about unpacked before I had to pack again so I could get a train back down south at ridiculous o’clock.
Generally (aside from the rather upset woman who lost her sh*t when I asked her to turn her music down earlier in the year) I like train travel, and I always like people-watching on the tube: the families on an exciting first visit to the museums, a John Hurt doppelgänger in a woollen bright electric blue suit, the man who had had a banana feast for breakfast and draped the banana skins over his legs and the woman who was humming along to her playlist at a high pitched squeal were the highlights of this weekend’s travel. I’m not a fan of large crowds, especially when everyone is going in different directions, but over the years have developed a fairly reliable system where I avoid getting trapped in the middle of a whole bunch of people with no escape.
I was bracing myself for it to be busy, but NOTHING, however, prepared me for the utter insanity of this morning.
I had been staying with my friend in East Croydon, and instead of having to rush and cut our time short over the weekend I decided to book my train to Birmingham on Monday morning after the rush hour had finished. However, yesterday I realised that this meant I would have to get a train from East Croydon to Victoria during the main commute.
It was only a short trip, probably lasting about 20 minutes in total, but it’s 20 minutes I never want to experience again. After being pushed, poked and had bags smacked into my limbs I was getting a bit anxious, but when a woman started slurping through an egg sandwich in my ear and screaming down the phone it almost tipped me over the edge. The slurping went on seemingly forever, and I was so grateful that I hadn’t had my own breakfast by that point or it would have come back up to be shared with the feet of the other passengers…
I arrived at Victoria feeling completely frazzled, desperate to get outside and in total awe of those who go through this twice a day, at least five days a week. I disagree with the reputation that Londoners have for being blunt, cold and rude – I’ve had loads of conversations with really interesting people whenever I’ve been there – but if that’s what they have to face every morning I can certainly understand why some of them may be a bit grumpy!
Londoners: I salute you!