Been up in London all day today. I hate it. With a passion. I mean, the city itself is great: the buildings, the theatres, the museums and galleries, the river, the parks, the unexpected beauty of the place. Everything else about London can fuck off though.
The people. So many. So bizarre and hip looking. So many languages. So few manners.
The traffic. The TRAFFIC! It's insane! My colleague and I had to scamper out of the path of a taxi which deliberately swerved towards us as we crossed a road. Bastard.
And of course we got horribly lost. We'd been told "It's really easy to find" about the office we were heading for.
No it fucking isn't.
We came out of Tottenham Court Road station, turned the wrong way and walked miles down Oxford Street before pleading weakly with a very nice policeman to help us get to where we needed to be. Thank you kind copper, if you're reading this. He laughed at us for a bit then gave clear and accurate advice as to how to get where we needed to be.
We followed his directions, found the office, only 10 minutes late, had a very successful meeting and then (at the suggestion of our colleague) walked all the way across the West End to a different office to meet someone else who might be helpful. And that took over 40 minutes, because we got really lost again.
We went down Shaftesbury Avenue. Back up Shaftesbury Avenue. Up and down the Strand. Through Chinatown (I think). Past Trafalgar Square. Past Horseguards. Saw the National Gallery from almost all possible angles apart from the birds-eye view. It was an education.
My feet are killing me. I thought long and hard about which shoes to wear, and decided on heels because it was a formal meeting. Bloody fool that I am. Should have worn my big stompy boots or trainers or something sensible for walking in. Wellies maybe. Heh.
And getting there is such a pain in the arse. To London, I mean. Mr WithaY kindly dropped me at the station so I didn't need to fret about parking. However, I'd not been there more than 5 minutes when the announcement came that my train had been cancelled. And me with no car to drive to the next station, or back home, or to the office, as has happened before.
A "technical problem" apparently. Oh, great.
So that leaves all these people stood on the platform with their very own Technical Problem - that of getting from A to B without using a fucking train. Gah.
Well, the long and the short of it was that we all hopped on the next train regardless of its destination and forced the driver to go to London at gunpoint, then abandoned the train in a multi-storey car park and torched it.
Well, no we didn't.
But we should have. We all hopped on the next train and changed at Salisbury, slightly later than planned, and a lot grumpier. I met my colleague as arranged, and our journey continued more or less uneventfully. But shit like that happens every bloody time I have to use the train. And when it costs the best part of a hundred quid for a ticket, it really isn't good enough.
Other news. 24,000 people at Stonehenge for the Solstice celebration. Saw a few of them on the train - they looked like people who'd been up all night smoking dope. There was a group of three lads, probably late teens, who had clearly all been wearing "Alice Cooper" stylee eye makeup. In the fun-filled party atmosphere among 24,000 like minded souls it probably looked fab. On a grubby, crowded South West train at 9 in the morning it looked both crap and hilarious.
Ah well. A day off tomorrow. And I really feel like I need it.
Another thing - why do all the escalators on the London Underground have adverts for cheap flights to places you would love to visit? It's like torture...Canada, Hawaii, Bermuda, Mauritius, New Zealand....yes, thanks for telling me I could get there for £200. However, I'd much rather flog across London and then spend 3 hours on a train to get home.