My thanks to the young lady who drew my attention to this article during our chat earlier today,
A couple on the platform kiss.
Place isn’t real” he says.
Oh happy days
For lovers. And I
Do not hear what she answers in reply.
The sun shone this evening as I strolled from my office in Whitehall to Embankment tube.
The roads seemed empty apart from the presence of police vehicles, who’s sirens joined with the noise of the helicopter to disturb the tranquillity of the evening.
No one appeared to be manning the “Evening Standard” stall outside Embankment station, which seemed odd given the events of the day.
“Watch out for card clash”, the automated announcement said as we commuters filed along, in a more or less orderly fashion.
I passed part of my journey home, from Victoria to Gipsy Hill, in conversation with a lady. We spoke about my guide dog, Trigger.
Just another daily commute then, when I reached the pub, the horror of the day replayed again on television.
My place of work is in Whitehall, some little distance from Parliament where the terrorist atrocity occurred this afternoon. I am unharmed and (fortunately) none of my colleagues or friends where affected by today’s incident. However the shock remains with me.
Walking through the tube on my way home.
In this crowd.
That I could
Be a cloud
Yet we are all clouds
Blown hither and thither by crowds,
Trying to keep our identity in the throng
Is “Work then home
Perhaps a few drinks with the boys or girls
(the social whirl)
Or collapse in front of mindless television
(watching overpaid hosts
On reality TV interviewing ghosts
Who inspire derision, Not fear).
Sometimes we see it clear
But rather than confront the truth (which is difficult to do),
Instead flick through
Channels where you can shop till you drop
For the latest crop
Of gadgets (not needed before,
But once you saw
You just had to buy)
For one must be a “with it” guy.
Going to bed
Is clear for a while.
There can be no denial
That you may think
(unless your mind be muddled with drink)
Ere sleep “wraps up the ravelled sleeve of care”,
For you may dream
And all that does seem
Will be revealed for what it is, a soon forgotten soap opera in which you play
A barely noticed role then fade away.
Reaching for the alarm that wakes
A step into the unknown.
Breakfast will, he thinks, Be followed by leaving home
No sudden jerk
Just the passing thought, death is always near
And one day all will
This morning I took a train from Thornton Heath station to London Victoria. Due to me being visually impaired, a member of station staff assisted me to board the train. However, before he could disembark, off went the locomotive with the railway company employee on board, and none to happy at having been conveyed, without his consent from Thornton Heath to the next station stop, Norbury!
With a plan
To help me board a train.
Oh what a pain
For the doors closed
And there arose
From his lips a bad word,
The kind heard
On the docks.
The commuters where shocked
And the man from the station
Reached a destination
Not wished for.
No wonder he swore!
Yesterday evening I met a friend who works for Transport for London. After a few pints he confided in me that London Underground will be introducing fines for those found to be reading books on the tube. According to my friend who, for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous, there have been many accidents caused by commuters so absorbed in their reading matter they have failed to notice the person closest to them and poked them in the eye with a book, newspaper or magazine. There is also, he says an issue with people missing their stop due to being engrossed in a good (or bad) book (good and bad are, after all subjective terms).
Consequently as from today (April 1st)anyone caught reading on the tube will be subject to an on the spot fine of £5 (if paid by cash rather than card this will be reduced to £4.50). My friend believes that this will enhance the customer experience of those traveling on London Underground. Rather than taking refuge in a book or paper commuters may, actually talk to their fellow passengers! The idea does, he says have the added advantage of creating employment as a significant number of “Book Banners” will be required to enforce the policy.
What do you, my readers think of the idea? Will it work? Is it a good one? How would you feel where you to be subjected to a fine of £5 for reading on the tube?
Someone went under a train today.
We commuters continued on our way.
There is nothing one can say.
Another person went under a train today.
As I walked through Embankment tube station this morning, the announcer apologised for the slight delays caused by a person having gone under a train. This is, sadly a regular occurance in London. One thinks briefly of the poor individual (and their family and friends) then, as one must, continue on one’s way. Most such instances are suicides (or attempted suicides), while a few are accidents.
On the London commute.
“White people think we live in trees.
How I ring the bell”.
She is unwell
Her mind full of some song
Of real or imagined wrong.
“Stolen from Africa” she says.
Soon we will go our separate ways.
Full of god knows what.
The train stops
And she gets off.
Has there been racism in this lady’s life?
Or is it some other strife
That made her rant and shout
As we travellers went about
Our daily commute.
I can not get to the root
A mind shattered into bits.
This morning while traveling on the train, a lady who described herself as coming from Zimbabwe addressed her fellow commuters. Among other things she said that white people believe Africans still live in trees and asked that someone tell her how to ring the bell (the communication cord to stop the train).
I don’t know what was going on in this lady’s head (no one had said anything to provoke her outburst) and I can only conclude she is in need of medical help.
“You look smart. Are you off somewhere nice?”, said the man operating the luggage gate at London Victoria’s mainline station. (Being blind this gentleman has assisted me onto trains on numerous occasions hence his familiarity in speaking to me in this manner).
“No, just work”, I replied.
“But its Sunday Kevin!”, he said with obvious surprise.
Suddenly everything clicked into place. The 4 coach train at my local station when, during the working week the train consists of 8-10 carriages should have screamed, “It’s the weekend you crazy man!”. Likewise the lack of people at the station together with their relative absence on my walk there should have registered with me as signifying that it was a Sunday.
I have never done anything like this before and can only conclude that my desire to be early for the meeting I was due to chair on Monday morning, coupled with the need to prepare for it so occupied me that I neglected to notice the trifling fact it was Sunday rather than Monday! Oh well at least my guide dog Trigger enjoyed an early morning trot albeit on a Sunday!