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[!].