Who dares, wins

Heading into town yesterday on tube strike day I felt smug as I managed to get on a bus that wasn’t packed to the rafters like others that had sped by without stopping.  There was a sense of adventure and resourcefulness that is palpable in London when this happens. 

As the bus drove on we passed crowds of people hiking down Edgeware road at a determined pace.  Trainers were on, rucksacks mounted on backs – some people were even running.

I watched as our bus pulled up and two girls jumped on. ‘This’ll get us to the end of the road, then I don’t know what we’ll do’.  Suddenly they sprang up –‘Wait did you see that one – that one takes us closer – quick run!’

I got off at Marble Arch hoping to catch a bus all the way down Oxford Street. As they trundled past me with faces pressed to the glass, I realised there was no chance and surrendered to a longish walk.

A man charged past, on the phone, his pink shirt sticking to his back with sweat: ‘Hi Darling. This was so stupid of me. I don’t know why I did it – honestly!  I’m coming up to Oxford Circus now’.

Two tourists stood in the melee that was the pavement on Oxford Street – laughing in an exhilarated fashion: ‘Here take a picture of me! Take a picture of this!’

Boris bikes passed with helmetless riders.

A man held up his iphone – checking he was going in the right direction.

Outside Top Shop I passed Seasick Steve – an engaging act on the festival circuit this summer, having a leisurely chat with two fans; checked shirt, faded jeans and gnarly beard all intact.  I looked back,  smiling, as a man beside me remarked: ‘He’s with the guy who took the photo’.

I decided to treat myself to a cuppa after my hike.  The queues in the cafes were enormous;  everyone with the same idea.  But, it struck me that while being inconvenienced is a pain, the tube strike does seem to bring a sense of openness to London town – and that’s refreshing.

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