London life

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Running on the left;

Running on the left;

Save 2  minutes extra then we won’t feel bereft.

Standing on the right;

Standing on the right;

Sometimes slow and steady is all you need at night.

Running on the left;

Running on the left;

Makes us feel important look at our speed and deft.

Standing on the right;

Standing on the right;

Taking time to savour the joy of morning light.

 

 

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10 things I hate about tube…

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  1. Awkward pole dancing – you know when you put your hand on the pole but you’re a bit unsteady and move it and end up on someone else’s hand, or you take your hand off to turn a page and put it back but now there’s someone else’s hand there…or when the tube stops and you all have to move to let people off the tube but no one will let go of the pole so you all do a shuffle…there you go “awkward pole dance”.
  2. Loud talking no. There are no phones on the tube, it’s lovely, now stop talking loudly to each other.  I don’t want to hear your conversation, I want to sing in my head without disturbance, it’s the only chance I get to do it.
  3. Backpacks / Rucksacks if you need to carry so much stuff around (I get it – I’ve done it) then for goodness sake watch where you’re putting your flipping bag!  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been boffed in the face.  I know I am rucksack height but that doesn’t mean I’m invisible!
  4. Small wheely bags as a regular wheely bag user I like to think I am observant and aware of my surroundings, such that I don’t leave my bag in stupid places or wheel it so far behind me that it leave a trail of tripped up commuters scattered in my wake…sadly I appear to be the only wheely bag user with this attitude.
  5. Eating stop it.  Don’t you have homes to go to?  Why is it always a McDonalds…
  6. Spitting yes really, it happens.  The perpetrators seem to think that following this disgusting action by trying to grind the spit into the floor of the tube carriage makes it ok…it does not.
  7. Oystercards – for non-Londoners these are the electronic “touch in” tickets currently used on the underground.  Aside from the numerous overchargings I have had to endure, the £8 telephone bill when I tried to change my travelcard, the incorrect advice about trying to extend my travelcard after moving to a different zone, my current bugbear with the Oyster system is that I have to take proof of my address if I want to return my card and get my deposit back.  This might not seem like a big deal, but having my Oystercard misplaced by the boy a short time ago I purchased a new card and topped it up with credit.  Upon returning home I promptly found my original Oyster and returned to the station to refund my money.  Naturally I just popped along with my Oystercard, receipt and credit card I bought it from…it wasn’t enough, I need to prove my address…even though the card is not in any way linked to my address… This really isn’t a big deal for me, I live in London, but I do wonder about what message we are sending to tourists who will be smart enough to know that the only way to travel in London without taking out a mortgage is by Oyster, but they won’t automatically have proof of their address, after all Passports don’t contain this.  I feel it’s just a way of boosting funds for TFL when travel is already a rip off.
  8. Escalators I think this applies to outside the underground system, but really why do people stand at the top and/or bottom of the escalator blocking the whole thing?  Don’t get me started on people who disobey the signs and stand on the left…In all seriousness though my real issue is the lack of accessibility on the whole system.  I have only once taken my son on the tube because I can’t carry him down the two flights of stairs to even get into our local station.  Even if someone helps me down I am stuck with an escalator (which I hate with a buggy) to get down.  The majority of stations I want to go to have steps on the way out so my only real option is to go to Green Park…that’s fine, but I don’t really want to go there…  I really noticed it when I was pregnant, I have to travel a lot for work and this involves carting big cases of papers around, trying to lug these up and down stairs at the best of times is difficult but frequently reduced me to tears for several months.
  9. Seat etiquette I’ve fallen foul of sitting in the priority seats and neglecting to offer my seat to a pregnant lady, elderly person or just someone who genuinely needed it more than me.  It happens, we all have daydreaming days and when I realise I always jump up, even if I’m down the middle of the carriage.  I’m definitely more alert now than I used to be, and even when I was pregnant I’ve played musical chairs with other preggies as at different stages we have been the only ones to get up and offer a seat to another.   Having been in need of a seat myself and not been offered, or worse being offered a seat but by the time I waddle over to it another commuter has swooped in and taken it (much to the horror of me, the offerer and several surrounding passengers) I think my senses may be a bit heightened to this.  I have always been firmly of the belief that if you need a seat you can ask for it, that’s what the priority seats are and you need to take some initiative rather than expecting someone to stand up.  However, whilst pregnant I twice asked for a seat on the tube and was refused, I am generally happy to stand, even when pregnant, but I asked because I really needed to sit.  I was so upset by this that I stopped asking, it wasn’t worth the stress.  A friend who was pregnant at the same time fainted 4 journeys to work in a row before her fellow regular travellers started taking her corner and helping her get a seat in the mornings.  Anyway the point of this rant arose when I saw a commuter sat in the priority seat working on her laptop in the morning.  This happens a lot, but the rule is: if you get a priority seat it isn’t really yours – you need to be prepared to offer it at every station.  Working on your way to work (whilst completely unnecessary – get up earlier and do it) whilst sat in these seats indicates you are not willing to offer it to another in need.  It’s not acceptable and you have breached the terms of the seat.
  10. Papers there are 2 free papers on my journey to work; the Metro in a morning and the Evening Standard on the way home.  Whilst I don’t object to either of these per se (and the certainly have improved on the days of two free evening papers competing…although I was fond of the London Lite) and I regularly seek out the latest news stories pet of the day for my journey to work.  What I don’t like are:
      • the yucky black muck which gets all over my hands…and without fail I then wipe it on my face;
      • what’s worse is that other people have the stuff on their hands too and they wipe it over the poles and handrails #germs;
      • the crowds of bystanders outside the station picking up their freebies;
      • I used to complain about the sheer number of people stood outside the station handing out the free papers…the papers are gone but the people are still there…now they’re handing out magazines and leaflets…grr get out of my way!!!
      • why do I need a paper handing to me – I can pick it up myself…
      • why (and this in fairness applies to books and Kindles too) oh why do people find the need to shove their papers in my face? or worse – rest them on my head?!  I manage to read without doing this…admittedly I’m only 5ft so would struggle to lean on someone’s head…but it’s just rude…RUDE!