Tag Archives: london

Magical Mystery Tours

I am absolutely shattered!!! Travel disruption this week has meant an extra hour added to my journey each morning, and another hour each evening.

When you are use to a train speeding along a direct route, any experience on a bus feels as if you are taking some bizarre magical mystery tour of obscure parts of London that you have never heard of.

It seems to me as if they plan engineering works for the school holidays, so that they don’t disrupt the commute of the youths of this city. Nope…just disrupt the commute of those of us who ency the energy teenagers have.

Photo by Olga Lioncat on Pexels.com

Traumatic Travel

So on Friday morning, I was rather worried about the weather forecast:

STORM EUNICE!!!

I left my little nest even earlier, at around 6:55am. The weather forecast suggested that the winds would pick up in London between 7-10am. The tram journey was fine, and then we boarded the double-decker. This driver drove normally, but there was a lady who was talking on her phone, and as the bus took a corner, she went flying across the bus and I had to catch her! I arrived in the office at around 8:20am, so I probably did not need to work so early, but I was just glad that the journey was not stressful.

But at the end of the day, when it was time to leave, everything had changed when it came to the London commute. Even the walk towards the station was terrifying. I had to walk past a construction site, a multi-storey huge building site. Of course there was no work going on. But the whole side of the site, the expanse of mesh that is a safety net had blown away, and there was debris being blown around. Even more scary were long scaffolding poles, that seemed to be fixed at one end to something, however, they were being flung around into the air, and clanging like giant wind chimes….in those powerful winds. I was absolutely petrified. I rushed past as quickly as I could, envisioning the most awful of calamities.

At the station I was told that all of the trains were cancelled and at a tree had fallen onto the tram line, so the only option was the buses. So the TFL man told me to catch a bus going west, and then to switch onto another bus that would take me closer to home. It was the oddest journey. It took three hours to get home. (When I checked on Google Maps, it said it would have taken two and a half hours to walk, so how the bus journey took even longer was a mystery to me.) There were roads closed along the whole route. The bus driver was speeding along, people kept on pressing the button and asking him to stop, but he ignored them. One lady asked him if we were being taken hostage. I started to giggle to myself because it was all becoming so weird. We were driving through parts of South London I have never heard of.

I eventually switched bus, but even the second bus took almost an hour and half to make a journey that is normally half an hour (well, when there is no traffic) with police blockades meaning we had to take the strangest route.

I cannot tell you how glad I was to finally make it home. I was cold, wet and exhausted!!! I had a hot bath. I climbed into bed and I slept and slept and slept!!!

Tram Wreck

I feel it is going to take me all weekend to recover from the experience that was – being crammed onto a tram on a Friday night.

City, Transit, Streetcar, Toronto

A man seemed to leapfrog right over me to obtain an empty seat for himself. I think I need to get one of those jackets with metal spikes on them.

I should not say such things. There has to be a way to not just survive, but to thrive on the crazy commute!

I Can’t Win Either Way

So…here is me gritting my teeth after being on my feet for twelve hours , determined to walk back to my nest in the rain rather than to risk loonies on the bus. Only….sometimes the pavements don’t seem much safer.

There were a group of women, around six of them, from what I could tell of their conversation, they seemed to be workmates. I don’t know what time they had started drinking that evening, but they were already in such a bad state they were oblivious to all around them.

Bar, Night Out, Happy, Women, Drink

The language coming out of their mouths was even worse than that dubious chap on the bus. They may have been pretty on the inside, but that was all tarnished by their foul mouths.

How I wanted to rush past them, but they were swaying and staggering all over the pavement….almost all the way to my home. They turned off into a popular pub on the high street.

Why do people behave that way in public? Could someone explain to me when it became a thing to be revolting like that in public?

Another Reason Not To Use The Bus

Oh dear! I have been trying to avoid the bus since that gang of twenty-year-olds who did not have face masks on. But yesterday, I had to go a long way and I had to carry a lot. I walked down the hill and onwards towards my destination, which took me around 90 minutes. But on the way home….I was sort of questioning whether walking home would not make me exhausted before another hectic day of work.

My feet were burning, my ankles were aching, my calves were throbbing, and suddenly, an empty bus pulled up. So….I gave in to temptation and boarded the bus.

London, Bus, Red, Cities, British

But you won’t believe what happened at the next bus stop. A bunch of passengers jumped on, all wearing facemasks except one. This young chap sat there, yabbering away on his phone, no face-mask and no idea how inappropriate every aspect of his behaviour was it would seem.

What came out of his mouth was awful. I have no idea who he was talking to….but if any body spoke to me that way – it would be the last time they would ever speak to me. His choice of bad language, the threats he made towards this person, the boasts he made about himself, added to which he had a rather sour opinion of social services involvement in his family life.

Well, if he behaves that way on a public bus, I dread to think of the standard of his behaviour behind closed doors.

But the putrid icing on top of the revolting cake, was his cough. He coughed and spluttered (of course no face mask to keep his coughs inward), sniffled and snorted, croaked and choked and coughed again and again.

I opened all the windows within reach. I sang as loud as I could inside my head to drown out the disgusting flow of effluent coming out of his mouth, and when the bus finally pulled over near to my nest, I was so relieved to escape.

London, Buses, Transport, Bus, Travel

I feel more resolute now. I am supposed to be travelling to see my family and Jack’s family next week (although, in separate visits, with small numbers now that the engagement party is off) – I don’t think I want to go near a bus before then. It just seems too risky. I don’t want fools without masks coughing and spluttering anywhere near me, and….for that matter, I think that if someone uses that kind of bad language in public (or anywhere really) a trapdoor should open and they should be off the bus. They should be the one walking home.

Buses, and public places in general should be for those who know how to show consideration to others.

Another Reason To Love My Nest

My nest is so very sweet and comfortable. It has everything I need and it is spacious for a little nest. I am very content here. But one of the things I have always especially appreciated about my little nest is the security and privacy that two sets of very large locked gates bring with them.

Heart, Castle, Love, Symbol, Romantic

It is great to know that no child dressed as a demon is going to be popping up on my doorstep this weekend!

Yet another reason why I love my little nest.

Sweet bliss!

Calling Londoners!!

Three free tickets to attend The Royal Festival Hall this Saturday 4th September 2021 !

Yes, that is what our lovely blogging friend in Canada, the creator of Cyranny’s Cove is giving away for free. She was supposed to be in London this weekend, watching a performance by Danish rock band Mew, but the Pandemic has of course effected her travel plans.

So, rather than see the tickets go to waste, she is asking if anybody would like the three tickets for free. You probably know already that The Royal Festival Hall is on the South Bank, a stone’s throw from The London Eye. So it’s ideal for us crazy Londoners!

These two posts on Cyranny’s Cove will tell you all about her hopes that someone will be able to enjoy a fantastic performance from Mew. It is this coming weekend, so please do take the chance to snap up three free tickets for a very cool night out!

What Will Change For Me On Monday?

So apparently Monday is the lifting of all sorts of social distancing restrictions, limits on the numbers who gather and the abandonment of facemasks (however, individuals and some other entities can decide what works best for them). Perhaps some of us are a little bit confused at present.

I now know that nothing will really change for me. We have received directives to say that healthcare workers will still wear full PPE – we will be wearing facemasks masks all day long, testing twice-weekly and continuing with our super-vigilant cleaning procedures. I think some of my colleagues may have mixed feelings about that, but I think it makes sense. Our patients are also expected to wear facemasks and if they don’t have one, we are to give them one and ask them to don it. Of course we are hoping nobody starts kicking off and behaving badly about that!

Covid-19, Covid19, Covid, Face Mask, Man

Thank goodness public transport in London will still require facemasks. I was on a bus at the weekend with several people breathing in my breath and I was breathing theirs in – we were sandwiched together. It was not a nice situation. I think anyone would be an intrepid soul to gamble on boarding a bus or train in London without a facemask.

Will I be rushing off to a nightclub to get sweaty with hundreds of youngsters? Not on your nelly!

However…I can see that in some areas, including some of the remote parts of the countryside where some of my family live, I am sure the lifting of restrictions will be welcome there. They have observed all the directions, staying at home, not allowing visitors, wearing facemasks, strict limits on numbers when some social gatherings were allowed – despite living halfway up a mountain that not even the postman can be bothered trekking up.

But as for me….in London….working in healthcare – it looks as if nothing is going to change on Monday. To be honest…I don’t have any complaints about that at all.

You are all going to have to wait a little while longer to see my beautiful smile!

Swimming With The Ducks

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned one of my favourite places in London – Hampstead Lido (Parliament Hill Lido), which is an incredibly lush experience on a hot summer’s day.

can't beat it.jpgSo when I saw the writing prompt fromSarah Elizabeth Moore, I thought I would share with you my favourite place for wild swimming – Hampstead Ponds!

The whole of Hampstead Heath brings a real mix of memories to me. Many good and some devestating. I wrote about the conflicting feelings and memories I have in a post called: Memories…Letting The Happy Ones Dominate.

I featured my memories of an evening I spent with friends a few days before I was attacked in another post last year. This is an excerpt from it which will tell you about Hampstead Ponds:

I used to meet friends every Thursday for an intensive keep-fit boot-camp. Normally we would run down to a local cricket pitch, where the class would start. We would run sprints, and do squats and leapfrogs and all sorts of different exercises. But this night was different. One of the lads was leaving London to move abroad as he was engaged to be married. So we were going to have the boot-camp at a different location – Hampstead Heath.

We drove to Hampstead Heath. We ran from the Highgate side of the Heath over to the Hampstead side. When we reached the Hampstead Ponds for mixed bathers (there are men only and women only ponds too), we stripped our running clothes off and all of us had our swimming costumes on. We jumped into the water and swam a couple of circuits around the pond. There was a bit of splashing each other too. There was hardly anyone else there at that time so we weren’t annoying anyone.

20180628_143347

Afterwards, we put our running clothes on over our swimming costumes, and then ran back over to the Highgate side of the Heath. There we found a grassy spot and the guy who took the class shouted out some instructions which we followed, press-ups, squats, leap frogs and stretches.

VW camper.pngTwo of our friends (a married couple) had a VW Camper Van. So we all got changed in the back of the van. The girls went first, we had to take our damp clothes off and have a quick dry off and put on our warm dry clothes. Then it was the lad’s turn to change. Once we had all changed, we walked up the hill so we could have a goodbye drink with our friend who was moving abroad for his wedding.

I loved that evening. My hair was slimy and smelt like ducks afterwards. But I loved it, and I am so glad that is one of my happy memories, just a few days before I was attacked.

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This was my post in response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:

https://sarahelizabethmoore.org/2019/08/25/writing-prompt-34/

The GateHouse Pub

031719

I love Sarah’s prompt for this week, but I don’t think I can give an authoritative answer to this one. I will tell you about one pub where I have some special memories I cling to though.

Where I am living now there are pubs a-plenty, and lots of restaurants. This area is very popular with tourists and visitors. Most of the pubs are owned by Youngs – a pub restaurant company with quite an empire up and down the country. I don’t know which is the best. I have visited most of them with friends, but I have not adopted any of them as my pub of preference.

The thing about a pub is…it’s not just the food, it’s not just the staff, it’s not just about the comfort and seating, it’s not just about the music they play, it’s not just the other people at the pub…it’s all of the above that create an atmosphere that makes you feel relaxed and forget all your troubles.

In the town I grew up, all of the local pubs were a bit too rough and ready for me to go anywhere near them! But I have travelled a lot within the UK, and I discovered country pubs when local volunteers took us for a drink after a long day on a construction site or a large public event. They took us to some beautiful pubs with a relaxed atmosphere and we felt comfortable there.

Of the pubs I have visited up and down the country with friends and workmates, some I have enjoyed, others not so much. I think on the whole, when I didn’t enjoy a pub, it was because of the behaviour of some eeed-yats who had drunk too much and decided to act up. Whenever that has happened, my friends and I would make a hasty departure. That’s the risk of pubs – you never know who else will be there and how much they will drink and the effect it has on them. So we are always ready to move on when the atmosphere changes.

I have lots of memories of fun nights with friends at pubs. We have played cards, we have put the world to rights, we have shared portions of chips or onion rings, we have argued over whose round it was, we have laughed, even danced, and occasionally cried together. In London especially, many of my friends and I have lived in tiny flats, where we had to be considerate of our neighbours. So meeting up for a drink at a local pub where there was more space and we could make a little bit more noise was handy.

I know quite a few of the pubs in Highgate, Hampstead, Muswell Hill, Finchley, Mill Hill, Whetstone, Crouch End, Holloway, Kentish Town….and beyond. I am going to tell you about one pub, it’s not necessarily the best pub, but it is one pub where I have some memories with friends that I like to keep close.

 

My memory is of an evening that ended at The Gatehouse Pub in Highgate Village. But the whole evening is one I remember fondly. It took place on a Thursday evening, at the end of a warm summer’s day.

I met with the group I met every Thursday for a bootcamp. Normally we would run down to a local cricket pitch, where the class would start. We would run sprints, and do squats and leapfrogs and all sorts of different exercises. But this night was different. One of the lads was leaving London to move abroad as he was engaged to be married. So we were going to have the bootcamp at a different location – Hampstead Heath.

We drove to Hampstead Heath. We ran from the Highgate side of the Heath over to the Hampstead side. When we reached the Hampstead Ponds for mixed bathers (there are men only and women only ponds too), we stripped our running clothes off and all of us had our swimming costumes on. We jumped into the water and swam a couple of circuits around the pond. There was a bit of splashing each other too. There was hardly anyone else there at that time so we weren’t annoying anyone.

20180628_143347

Afterwards, we put our running clothes on over our swimming costumes, and then ran back over to the Highgate side of the Heath. There we found a grassy spot and the guy who took the class shouted out some instructions which we followed, press-ups, squats, leap frogs and stretches.

VW camper.pngTwo of our friends (a married couple) had a VW Camper Van. So we all got changed in the back of the van. The girls went first, we had to take our damp clothes off and have a quick dry off and put on our warm dry clothes. Then it was the lad’s turn to change. Once we had all changed, we walked up the hill so we could have a goodbye drink with our friend who was moving abroad for his wedding.

After all that exercise we were hungry. So a few of us ordered some food. I can’t remember the drink I ordered…but I do remember I ordered a veggie burger. I remember that night, sitting with friends whose company I really enjoyed. For almost two years they had been a weekly escape from the challenges in my life. I felt happy with them, relaxed. Some of them knew Jack, my ex-flatmate, but they didn’t mention him. Nobody teased me about him, nobody taunted me. None of them referred to something that had been said about him and I. All of that group just liked me for me. We had the same interests, we loved keeping fit and exercising in a really fun way – outside in the fresh air.

at pub with friends.jpgI loved Thursday evenings because they were a complete escape from Jack, who had been pretty much making my life miserable for around two years by this point. That night we sat in The Gatehouse Pub and I felt happy, I felt really settled and secure. It was a lovely summer’s evening and I had spent it doing what I loved with people I felt very comfortable with. We laughed and we made a fuss of our friend who was moving. It was his last bootcamp with us and we all said our goodbyes. Although it was sad someone was leaving, I remember feeling so very happy that night.

But the very next day, Jack was back to his tricks taunting me, yet another rumour about he and I was doing the rounds on Facebook and Instagram and in Whatsapp groups. I strenuously denied it, as always. I passed Jack several times and he always looked at me with a hateful expression. That was a busy weekend. I was involved in several work projects and had training sessions to conduct. Also I helped a good friend with a huge party she had organized for the Saturday night. I only arrived back home after 3am on the Sunday morning after all the clearing up. Then Sunday was very busy. On Monday I had a television interview. I must have looked awful because I was so tired. Jack was on the same bus as me that day. He kept up his disdainful attitude.

AmbulanceOn the Tuesday I saw him several times and he was horrid. That evening, after I had been out with some friends in Highgate Village, at a pizzeria, I turned down an offer of a lift home by a friend, who lived near me. Instead, I walked to Hampstead Heath and sat on a bench and cried. At least an hour must have passed before a man sat next to me. The next morning, Wednesday morning, I was in an ambulance on my way to hospital.

at the pubIt turned out that was the last time I was ever at the Thursday bootcamp I loved so much. The last time I was with a group of friends who made me feel I could be me. The last time I was in a pub in Highgate with friends. The last evening I remember feeling happy and relaxed despite the challenges Jack was causing in my life. I cannot tell you how much I would love to be back there in the Gatehouse Pub in Highgate Village with people who made me feel comfortable and relaxed and happy.

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Is there a pub near you that you would describe as the best local pub? This is the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth MooreSarah Elizabeth Moore. Please link to her original post below:

https://sarahelizabethmoore.org/2019/03/17/writing-prompt-11/