Tonight after a long meeting I took off from our offices in Catherine Place in London for the train. As the weather was showing signs of improving and with the traffic likely to be bottlenecked at teatime I made the mistake of taking the underground.
If you’ve not tried the London underground at peak times… it’s an interesting, never to be repeated experience. Dragging two heavy bags over to Victoria station, surrounded by masses of people in a hurry and constantly having to avoid running people’s feet over with your bag is not the most pleasant experience but when you get to Victoria it gets worse – try as I might I’ve never been able to find a lift in the Victoria underground and there is no escalator so you have to drag your bags down several flights of stairs (no wonder you rarely see really old people down there – it’s disgusting considering the efforts that small companies have to go to in order to comply with legislation) to get to the underground.
The tube was CRAMMED with people pushing into overcrowded coaches in a way we used to laugh at when watching them do the same thing in Tokyo – it must be a pick-pocket’s dream down there and I don’t even want to THINK about the carnage which would arise if the tube had to brake suddenly. £4.30 for a one-way ticket for just a few stops to Kings Cross and a rather annoying assumption that you either HAVE an "Oyster" card or even that you give a damn what the card is… in both cases I didn’t and hence stood in the wrong queue first time around.
Alighting at Kings Cross, they’ve done their best in the renewals to make sure you walk twice as far as in the past and so the whole experience took about as long as the taxi would have – but in considerably less comfort.
And so onto the government-run line from London to Newcastle – one would expect comfort in first class – especially as it can cost more than budget overseas flights – but on this occasion they were two coaches short – so the seat numbering was all to hell and the coach was quite full. I checked the first time they came around offering sandwiches and even then they were short – having only sandwiches with rabbit food …. marvellous… I declined.
The level of quality some folk find acceptable never ceases to amaze me – and some of them do this EVERY DAY!!