So good to be home. The invigorating freshness in the air, the vibrancy of the colours. Have just come back from walking along the sea, shimmering light light blue as far as the eye can see. Oh, and so great to find your wonderful comments, my dear blog friends! I’ve missed you!
Not to say I didn’t have a great trip, ‘cause I did. Boy, I love the UK! Really, it feels like a second home to me. I love the friendliness, the politeness, the self-effacing humour of the English; I love the buildings, the hospitality, the quirkiness [why must the English have separate taps for hot and cold water? And who else could come up with names like Defiant Precinct, Surrogate Road, and for tube stations: Angel, Seven Sisters, Tooting Bec, Fairlop, Piccadilly Circus…]. I even love the weather – probably because it’s so much like home.
OK, at the risk of gushing too too much, there are obviously some things that are not so lovable, like some of the food, the general noise level in London, and getting stuck on the tube…
SPEAKING OF WHICH!
Two nights ago, YT was heading back to her Friends’ K and B’s place on the Piccadilly line, having just been to The Theatah to see [Outrageous! Funny! Uncensored!] Jerry Springer The Opera. At Knightsbridge, the train came to a stop – a stop which then proceeded to Drag On. The train was full and people in various stages of a) drunkenness [an Arsenal game had just finished], b) ennui [blank faces staring into nothingness], c) sleep [heads lolling, mouths drooling]. YT, incidentally, was not among them. Any of them. Having had eyes firmly fixed on the pages of Time Out magazine in a show of perfect composure. But I digress.
Suddenly there was one of those crackly, virtually-impossible-to-hear voices over the PA system: THIS IS A SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. THIS SERVICE IS BEING DISCONTINUED DUE TO A PERSON ON THE TRACKS AT ACTON TOWN. PASSENGERS PLEASE LEAVE THE TRAIN.
Amidst general groans and people schlepping themselves to their feet, YT sat straight-backed and startle-eyed in a state somewhere between horror and panic. Because: does “A PERSON ON THE TRACKS” mean, like, “SPLAT”? And: what sorry fate awaits One stranded in the middle of London at 11 o’clock at night with no knowledge of actually how to get to One’s destination?
Now, faced with this dilemma, YT decided to do what anyone would do, namely to do exactly what everyone else was doing. After all, doing what everyone else does has served Humankind well throughout the ages [an assertion that is open for debate]. So, YT let herself be transported with the river of people up onto the street and into the belly of that Londontown symbol: a proper red double-decker bus. Which would have been perfectly fun [especially sitting upstairs, whoo-hee!] had it not been for the unfortunate reality of being stuffed into said bus like the proverbial sardine.
At some point – Hammersmith, to be precise – The Crowd decided it was a good time to disembark and check if Service Had Been Resumed. It had been. [PHEW!] Onto the train once more, only to move half a stop and then sit stationary for close to half an hour. Every now and again, crackly voice came on: THIS IS A SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. SERVICE IS DISRUPTED DUE TO AN ONGOING POLICE INVESTIGATION AT ACTON TOWN. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE etc. etc. Not that it was their fault, of course. Bless their English politeness.
Anyway, eventually we did chug-a-chug through Acton Town at a snail’s pace, and sure enough, the place was crawling with officers and a large section of the station had been cordoned off with police tape. Now, just what happened remains a mystery. Whether it was a SPLAT scenario [horrors!] or just some weirdo having a wander on the tracks for a larf One will never know.
[And now for YT’s Final Ruminations, in true Jerry Springer style]:
Precisely this is the difference between living in a Large Place and a Small Place. Now, if that had been Iceland, the whole country would know by now. And would be appropriately horrified/saddened/emphatic. Whereas, it having been London, I don’t know. And, quite frankly, my curiosity is killing me.
OK THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ONE DAY..
But expect that there may be further fallout from YT’s trip over the coming days, which, in brief may be summed up thus: Four days in Norwich at the University of East Anglia at a Conference of Nordic Translators of Literature into English; Three days in London incorporating one previously-arranged appointment and a bunch of kicking around and doing fun stuff by myself. You Have Been Warned.
TODAY’S ICELAND WEATHER IS…
At the moment, overcast, with flurries drifting down outside my window. But it’s calm and beautiful and STILL LIGHT! Temperatures are currently at the freezing mark; sunrise today was at 10.01; sunset will be at 17.23[!].
I´ve missed reading your blog! Welcome back!!
Did you stay in the halls of residence at Univ of East Anglia? Are they just the ugliest thing you have ever seen? However, they do make a pretty fine waterfall display in torrential rain. Glad you like the UK, but the rest of the UK is very different from London, as you no doubt know (less manic, friendly, chatty people on trains and less noise and muck). Anyway, welcome back, I am new to your blog but I love it.
a person on the tracks tends to mean splat, and it’s funny because then everyone tends to sort of ‘tsk’ and shake their heads. they want to feel sorry for the poor blighter, but taking a dive in front of a tube train is considered just about the most selfish way to top yourself: you leave the driver scarred for life and make everyone else late. anyway, my husband checked the news to see if anything showed up about it there, but nada.
it’s funny that you were in the UK this week, as we’re going to be in iceland next week. honestly i’m hoping it will be frigid and snowy when we get there!
(candace of/at/from epistolary.net)
Auður: Takk! x
Hopeless (you aren’t really, are you??): Glad you like the Weather Report – already it likes you, too! Indeed, I did stay in the guest accommodation at uea and, oh yes, it certainly is THE ugliest campus I have ever seen!Cringe!! … Thank God the people are nice!
Candace: Thank You for checking for me! I even had a boo at the tube’s website today but – nada there, too. Hope you enjoy your stay here in Niceland – don’t count on it being too cold, though – the weather was very similar over in your part of the world, at least this past week!
Welcome back – glad you had a nice (if eventful) holiday!
Glad you are back!! Missed my dayly reporting on the weather.
tis been a dreary week without you, and you left us with your back to us, you should return with a photo of you coming.
good to read your voice again !
You see you visited the place called ‘London’, which is widely acknowledged now to be essentially a different country to ‘the UK’ these days…:-)
Welcome back. The Tube in London is a strange place sometimes, one needs a degree of prior knowledge sometimes especially when someone takes a dive onto the tracks.
Glad you found it all okay though. Too many people are intent on finding the bad (which does exist of course) so it’s refreshing to hear the good.
Yeah, you’re back! I really missed your blog, Alda!
Sounds like a great trip, with lots of stories to tell–although the SPLAT one might not have the happiest ending. Welcome back!
I, too, missed you! I look forward to more stories of the trip (but without any more “splats”).
I read your post just before bed and then had the weirdest dreams about SPLAT. If you never find out the real facts this could make a good substitute 🙂
London is my favourite place-to visit-but-not-want-to-live-there place in the whole world! I met my husband there 🙂
Louise, my sentiments exactly. I love visiting London, always feel so at home there, but that’s the extent of it – the thought of living there and commuting on the tube each day … *shudder*
Welcome back! I’m looking forward to more stories about your trip (no pressure, of course!).