Friday, 12 November 2010

I was confident

Yesterday I was an intrepid explorer. I left the comforts of Hull to travel to one of my most hated destinations.

London town.

(Apologies to my London readers.)

I don't know why but whenever I go to London something traumatic always seems to happen to me which then taints whatever fun I may have had. This time however I was determined everything was going to work. I’m 27. I can handle the Tube. I am a strong, capable woman. (I told myself.)

I made sure I was well prepared – I printed off a lovely little map, I strategised, I knew what I was doing. It was going to be easy, I was going to get a tube from Kings Cross to Euston (yes I know they’re terribly close but walking in London means getting lost in London and I wasn’t going to take any chances) and then it was just a walk in a straight line to Tavistock Square. Everything was sorted, I was confident.

I was confident up until the point where I began to panic about my complete inability to wake up in the morning. My alarm usually goes off at 6.30am but I’ll rarely rise until after 7am such are my snoozing capabilities. I was going to have to get up at 5am to catch the train from Hull. Cripes. This panic made its way into my sub-conscious and I had the most horrific missing-the-train dream ever. When my alarm did go off at 5am I was so relieved the dream wasn’t a reality that I bounded out of bed immediately. I would make the train – hurrah! I was confident.

I was confident up until the point where I ended up in a herding pen at Kings Cross underground due to extreme over-crowding on the underground platforms. I stood patiently and tried to curb my mounting panic as people began shuffling ever closer together, causing my claustrophobic fears to escalate to new heights. I held my ground when the barriers finally were opened and everyone surged forward as if these were the last trains leaving London. But I got on the right train, I got to Euston in one piece and I strode out of the station, clutching my little printed out map. All I had to do was walk in a straight line. I was confident.

I was confident up until the point when I realised that although I was walking in a straight line, this straight line happened to be in the wrong direction. I was officially lost in London. I tried to ask for help but annoyingly London lived up to its stereotype and not one person stopped when I asked for help. I hate it when stereotypes are proved right, I don’t want to believe that all people in London are like that but I have never in my days seen somebody who’s lost in Hull get point blank ignored. It made, and is still making me, incredibly angry. I didn’t want to completely freak out but I had a feeling that the time to panic was drawing near so I decided to retrace my steps back to Euston and start again and as luck would have it saw where I needed to go and started heading in the right direction. Hurrah! I was confident.

I was confident up until the point when I realised I was 20 minutes late to the conference (which might as well be 2 hours late if you’re pathologically early like me) and would have to walk into the hall while the keynote speech was being delivered. It’s ok I thought, you can creep in the back. Oh no, this marvellous room had the doors at the front so I had to walk through, past the keynote speaker, in front of the entire audience and scrabble around looking for a chair.


And all this for a conference which turned out to be really rather pointless.


  1. I could have shown you the route, I walk from Kings Cross to work via Tavistock Square every day!! Tis dead simple too
    Oh the embarrassment of having to walk in from the front, I feel your pain!!

  2. Oh God London is awful. I always hate going there. It takes ages to travel anywhere, everything is filthy and overpriced and everyone is in a stinking bad mood all the time.

    I went to New York once. it was clean, reasonably priced and people seemed happy.

    I don't know what went so very very wrong with London...

  3. I tend to walk most places (within reason) when I travel to London - basically because I get terribly claustrophobic down in the depths of the underground. A trusty map is my godsend :0)
    I wonder why people didn't stop to assist you - how awful.
    You'd travelled a long way from Hull to get to this conference, being 20 minutes late isn't worth worrying about.
    I'm sure you breathed a very big sigh of relief when you got back on your train home after a day like that. I know I would have done.

  4. Oh dear - you should have just gone sight seeing instead and pretended that you had attanded. xxxx

  5. Oh no! Worst nightmare! London is a place you have a love/hate relationship with, and at 36 I still struggle with the tube, and I've been using it for years! Well done though, it is a huge and daunting place, so yes be confident you did it, alot would have backed out before getting on the train x

  6. I grew up in London and it was fine. Then I went back to work in central London for 3 years and hated it. It's unfriendly, impersonal and I think it's really lost it's personality in recent decades. I try to go back as little as possible.

  7. I was born in and grew up in London and love it. I hate that it makes you feel like that, it really is fantastic - you just need a good guide. I can't believe no-one stopped to help you, they must've been hardened commuters who don't stop for anything. I'll always help someone who asks the way.

  8. London scares me to bits! To me it's like a whole other planet.

  9. Maybe Londoners are scared of strangers from the North. Maybe we just seem too nice and normal and confident about travelling around in their big, crowded city.

  10. What was the conference on? And I can't believe the rude Londoners...ach! You're putting me off returning...which is inevitably going to happen in over a months

  11. Not all Londoners are like this, so don't be put off visiting! I'm not quite from London (although I'm so close to the London border (literally a mile outside the London boroughs) that it's easier to say that I am than to explain where I actually live), but I'm more than happy to stop and help people out with directions. Maybe it's that tiny distance separating me from the big city that's stopped me from becoming a selfish, miserable city type haha.


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