An utter whirlwind of people and places that is unforgiving, intense and vibrantly different from anything seen before, London is a wonderful, intoxicating place. There are so many mesmerising sights, historic landscapes and quirky corners which make every visit there totally unique and it is undoubtedly the beating heart of this country.
The city is continually moving. I imagine from space it must look like endless trails of ants wearing Dune brogues, carrying umbrellas with the Daily Express tucked firmly under their armpits. The tubes, busses, trains, cars, taxis, cyclists, carriages, supercars, scooters and Deliveroo bikers negotiate the roads and rails to transport and serve us all.
People aimlessly explore, heading down hidden streets to see which pocket of wonder they will lead to.
Poets find their latest muse in the queue of a vegan coffee shop as their eyes meet through the steam emitting from a soya decaf mocha-chocca dairy free delight.
Circus performers routinely head to their specialist stretching class to ensure they are performance ready for the matinee in three hours.
The diversity and variety that London offers continually delights and astounds, whilst in the midst of it all, many simply head to their incredibly mundane office job, totally underwhelmed by the whole shebang. They trundle into work walking past monuments, mime artists and Monopoly locations, totally unfazed.
Whilst London is a fabulous capital city with lots to offer, it is also a place that can chew you up and spit you out if you aren’t careful. Let me explain.
It was a Wednesday morning. A commuter was doing their daily commute from Milton Keynes to the capital. The same stuffy suits, endless copies of METRO strewn all over the carriage floor, the subtle smell of distain coming from everyone’s soul, it was all to be expected. Doing the same journey every day can cause you to switch off mentally, turn on auto pilot and just focus on getting in to and through London as swiftly as possible. However, this can be a recipe for disaster.
Bleary eyed, I watched as a woman shuffled past me and into the carriage toilet.
The door shut and everyone carried on staring at their feet/phones/out the window. I was reading the washing label on my coat (riveting) wondering if such thick cotton would survive a tumble dry. Then the unimaginable happened. A fellow commuter (also still half asleep) proceeded to walk up the carriage and pressed the button to open the toilet door. The thing with toilets on the train is that once you’re in, you lock it.
You lock it by pressing the HUGE ILLUMINATED LOCK SIGN. But she hadn’t. For whatever reason, today she hadn’t.
Then it happened. It actually happened.
The door slowly but surely opened to unveil her perched on the toilet minding her own business, doing her business. She leant up to press the close button, revealing two very bare buttocks to the entire carriage. The doors must have a timer as it opened fully, then after around 3 seconds and 3000 frantic jabs of the close button the door slowly, fully closed. We all sat there in disbelief.
I, naturally, burst out laughing. The remainder of the journey was me sat in silence jiggling around like a jelly in an earthquake trying to hold in the squeaking and squawking that is my laugh. What did she do to deserve this punishment? Perhaps London decided she had got a little too comfortable and needed reminding that she needs her wits about her to navigate such cruel waters. Who knows? All I know is I will never forget the image of her little bare bottom on the 07:11 to Euston.
And no, she didn’t leave the cubicle until the train had terminated. The shame!