Tuesday, June 29, 2004


I missed the curfew. All people to be home by 6.30, they said. Here's me, still in Central London. Tube strikes bring about a new form of resilience in Londoners, triggering memories of the Blitz. You readers outside London just don't know what a crisis is till you've witnessed the chaos caused by millions of commuters attempting to cycle in for the first time or who, even worse, have chosen to drive, their selfishness rewarded by massive traffic jams. The sensible people walk: don the backpacks, put the shoulders back and start the purposeful walk to or from London's edges. It's nice to see their faces lit by the sun, slightly flushed from speed-walking and their first prolonged period of summer exposure outside the tube or the office.

The Isle of Dogs doesn't get affected by the strike - the DLR doesn't have drivers: yet another reason to live on London's emerald isle. Who would want to live in North London now? Nobody - tomorrow morning they'll be fighting their way onto the buses while I shall be shuttling in on the free riverboat service to the Savoy. Heh.

[Update 30/6/04 1649GMT: The boat was lovely darlings, thank you for asking. Now preparing for the long march home: the boat might be wetter this time. I'm only slipping into first person diary mode, by the way, because I know how fascinated you people outside London are by the apocolyptic nightmare which is tube strike day. Last night, just before being sent to walk from Bank to Monument station, and then back again underground (Why? WHY??) I was told horrible stories about East Enders trying to get onto buses the last time this happened: blood was spilt, haggard looking zombies in suits were banging on the side of the bus, desperate to squeeze on. This is what it reduces us to, folks. The horror...

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