Monday 3 December 2007

Transport troubles and cold weather

It seems that winter is most definitely here. The weather has been either absolutely freezing, or as an alternative, bucketing down with rain.The later has engendered leaking roofs and small inundations; the former has necessitated me finally buying a winter coat (£60 in Evans, wool blend, what a snip!).

I've been busy doing battle with TfL, pretty much everytime I go out of the house. Take last Tuesday. I arrived at North Greenwich Underground station to discover that the bus lane (and station) were closed (again). I couldn't see any activity at all and it was all rather irritating as it is a bit of a hike (with a walking stick) up the steps from the temporary stops. In the evening the bus lane was still closed, and by now the station announcer was informing passengers that the bus lane was closed for repairs (I did see two men digging a small hole on my way past) and would be open again at 4pm on Thursday. Down at the temporary stops (which are actually permanent but not usually used by all routes) chaos reigned. Although the three stops were designated for various routes this fact was being roundly ignored by all the drivers, who were pretty much stopping wherever they pleased - causing chaos for those of us trying to board! It was cold standing around waiting but it did afford some beautiful views of the Dome and Canary Wharf by night!

This morning was the pinnacle of rubbish transport. There had clearly been some incident affecting the north bound traffic through the Blackwall Tunnel. Sadly I didn't notice this as we crossed by the Standard, but I noticed as we passed Westcombe Park, and took several minutes to round the Woolwich Road flyover. I decided not to get off at the old hospital, but to stay round the corner and see what Tunnel Avenue (or whatever it is called) looked like. Stationary. Oh dear. At this point I did get off the bus and decided to head on a 188 to Canada Water where I could again pick up the Jubilee Line. I'm not sure that all that messing about ultimately saved any time - but at least I felt like I was getting somewhere!

I took a trip the other week to the newly re-opened Sainsbury's on the the Peninsula. Already one of my favourite supermarkets the refurbishment has only improved matters. They fortunately haven't made the wide aisles any narrower, and they have moved around some of the shelves so that the units face the same way - there is better traffic flow around the vegetables and the annoying dead end in frozen food has been done away with. All good.

On the subject of shopping I took a trip to Woolwich at the weekend. This is not something I do very often as the depth of shopping available there doesn't usually suit my needs. As usual a great deal of shops had opened and closed since my previous visit. Still the same healthy mix of bargain shops, estate agents and mobile phone shops. The whole area was frantically busy as though the 1st December had kick-started everyone into a Christmas shopping frenzy!

Saturday night I took a trip to Greenwich to catch up with some friends. This took two bus journeys as there is no direct route from where I live to central Greenwich. I felt extremely old as the bus was full of youngsters who were sporting short skirts, skimpy tops and no coats (and it was REALLY cold on Saturday night). From where I was sitting they didn't look old enough to drink - but like I said, I guess I'm just getting older! We went to the pub called Gipsy Moth (which is confusingly located adjacent to the actual Cutty Sark). It wasn't too crowded for a Saturday night and has the advantage of being easily located in central Greenwich. I got to enjoy the Christmas illuminations in Greenwich which are tastefully understated, as you would expect.