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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wednesday Travel Woes, with WTF, Universe as added bonus

Exactly one week after my first disastrous attempt at this trip, I set off again. I'd checked my email ticket reference repeatedly, so I knew I was headed to the right city.  I checked the weather report the night before - sunny, a mild 22C. (HAH!)
I timed my journey so I'd have half an hour to spare at the station, so I could grab a coffee, and I ended up leaving slightly earlier than planned because I was ready.
Things went great, right up until the Victoria line ground to a halt with me in it.

We had a fun time not moving in a tunnel, with an increasingly apologetic driver telling us someone had pulled a passenger alarm in a train ahead. By the time we pulled into Seven Sisters, I was twitchy. My half hour lead time had dwindled to ten minutes, but if we went to schedule from here on I'd make it.
And then they closed the station, and kicked everyone out. I stood on the pavement and watch the road fill up with police cars, which isn't something they normally do when someone gets sick on a tube train in the morning. Not even puking on a senior member of the CID is likely to get that response in London morning rush hour.
With the line now suspended until further notice, I grabbed a taxi. I had fourteen minutes before the train left London, so it was now a case of trying to get the next train. Seven sisters to Kings Cross in fourteen minutes could possibly be done if you closed every road and stopped traffic, and figured out how to beat the sound barrier. It cannot be done on a Wednesday morning at 08:42.

I watched the clock on the dashboard flick over to my departing time, and texted my boss. (Deja vu is only fun when it happens to someone else, and it isn't work related.) Thankfully, he'd been on the Vic from the other direction, so he knew I wasn't trying it on. Plan approved: grab the next train and head out. I'd be late, but better than cancelling again.

The taxi fare spanked me for just over £20. I fed my card into the machine and watched the rail service rape it to the tune of £105 (and if you think the barrier staff would let me on with the previously booked ticket, I want to live in your world), lurched up the escalator as the next train was called, and dropped into my seat. I left London coffee-less.

My destination (weather forecast, sunny and mild) greeted me with a great deal of rain. After the work stuff was done, I headed back to the station. I'm sure it's a lovely city, when it isn't raining on me; I'd worn a dress and crochet style slip on shoes, and I squelched onto the train back to London doing a passible imitation of a half-drowned rat.

The girl who sat next to me clucked her tongue and issued long, dramatic sighs for two and a half hours. I reached London damp, cold, and inching towards homicidal.

I still hadn't had any coffee.

Kings Cross is a big station. The overground section is massive, with a hall full of shops and boutiques; St. Pancras is just across the road and has a daily influx of European tourists. The loo's are free - the only place I've come across in the UK on a major station where you don't have to pay - and when you head down to the tube section, you walk for a while before you hit the branch you want.

I finally lurched onto the Victoria line platform to head for home. Ten seconds after I got there, someone slammed into me from the side and behind, and I landed on my butt. The bruise that was fading from last weeks falling off the seat incident flared to sullen painful life once more. I looked up to see who had just knocked me off my feet, and watched a little person marching down the length of the platform at a fair speed.

I had just been knocked on my ass by a dwarf.

Short of a meteor strike (NOT AN INVITATION, UNIVERSE), I'm not sure how Wednesday will top this one, so maybe my strange day of the week is about to change.