In praise of London buses (May 2009)

I started work at a client yesterday.  It was the first client work I’ve done since December, the interim period having been filled with personal crisis and logistics, writing the novel and generally slobbing around.  Client work means getting up early, dressing in the quaint and curious costume one is required to wear for these events (suit, shirt, tie),  Living the high life as a management consultant – gosh, what fun!The problem was getting there from my current Chelmsford base.  Not quite so easy, particularly after rising at the crack of 6am: walk, bus, train, tube, tube, walk.  Hour and three quarters to get to my client (agreeably close to the Oval cricket ground but sadly nothing whatever to do with cricket), two whole hours to get home: 15.625% of my day wasted, just like that!

Admittedly I can bring my laptop along and tap away at the novel during the interlude between Chelmsford and Liverpool Street, something even i wouldn’t dare to attempt while motoring around the M25, but the frustration came with the tubes.  We’re talking sardine country here, packed in, pushing through crowds, delays, you name it.  Fun it is not.And then came the piece de resistance when yesterday I discovered that the Victoria line was closed due to industrial action.  Sadly I was on the Victoria line platform when I made the discovery, having apparently missed all the warning signs.

This is where the British male shows his resolve.  Or the next best thing, anway.  So I found a way to Waterloo, worked out which exit was required to which bus stop and, lo and behold, boarded a 77 to Vauxhall with  considerable ease.  How splendid, I thought, but got to find the same bus back.  So come the evening, I went in search of the 77… only to discover that at the same bus stop I could also board a 344 direct to Liverpool Street, one every 7-9 minutes and with buslanes aplenty to see it rapidly through to destination.

In the scheme of things, this is not quite up there with penicillin or the wheel, but what a revelation that you could get on one bus and stay there in some comfort right the way through to your destination!!  No sharp elbows in your ribs, no trawl to change trains, no cancellations, nothing – just a smooth journey and a chance to watch the world go by.

Not only that, but when I caught the same bus back to Vauxhall this morning, the sun shone, the office workers looked cheery, the Thames looked less murky, everything in the world seemed right.  Wow!  Almost felt like working when I got here, incredible as it might sound.  So what on earth persuaded me that buses were old hat and that I needed the tube anyway?

Whatever – that’s me sorted!  Hope you enjoy your journey home too! 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me

Blogs, reviews, novels & stories