Thursday 9 October 2008

Little London moments

Yesterday morning I got the bus to work (as I try to do most mornings). Advantages of the bus over the tube is that a) it is cheaper... by quite a bit and b) you have a much better chance of getting a seat. I got on the 53 bus on the downhill bus stop (miraculously restored to its proper position now that the rolling-roadblock replacing London's Victorian water-mains has moved up the road). I sat on the 53 until Deptford Bridge, where a 453 pulled out of the bus stand just in front of us. No worries I thought, plenty of time to get off the 53 and onto the 453. Well, yes - if the 453 wasn't a bendy bus and the driver couldn't see me and the Stick fighting the roadworks trying to get on the back door. Off went the 453 as I shook my fist at it. The driver of the 53 I had just got off then stopped and opened the doors to ask me if I wanted to get back on. I explained that sadly I wanted to go further than his bus was going and I waited another five minutes (not so bad) for the next 453.

My journey onwards was uneventful until we arrived at Trafalgar Square. Here there were an extreme amount of TfL high-vis jacket wearing employees and a fairly large amount of Community Police Officers. The TfL staff were checking tickets, and i can only assume that the CPO's were implementing the full letter of the law against fare evaders. There must have been twenty or thirty people in various uniforms congregated there to carry out this exercise. It reminds me of the days when I used to walk from Blackfriars station to Clerkenwell and under the Holborn viaduct they used to set up road-blocks to check car tax.

Coming home yesterday I was walking along from the bus stop to my road past the rolling-road block that is replacing London's Victorian water-mains (also known as the Littleheath roadworks). As usual I noticed several cars skipping the lights. Not just the 'turning amber so I might just make it' sort, no, the full on 'lights are red but I'm going anyway'. During the moment when no traffic was coming in either direction a car came out of the side-streets (which are informed that traffic on the main road is under signal control). I watched him, he wasn't even trying to guage which way the traffic was going. So, driving along the signals turned green for the traffic coming in the other direction. The car at the front of the queue must have seen this other car turn out from the side street, but decided rather than waiting for the car to pass through the signal control to just 'go on green'. Two cars face to face in single file road amongst the roadworks. Fortunately there was just enough room for the car from the side street to pull over and let all the signal control traffic past. Would it have been too much for that first car to just wait a few minutes to let the other car through?

This morning as I was walking up from Lower Regent Street to my office (just off Piccadilly) I noticed that there was a queue of people outside Waterstones on Piccadilly - some of which had clearly spent the night as there were tents. I idly wondered what might cause such devotion - and a cursory Google search informed me that it was a 'Girls Aloud' book signing. So, now you know.