Monday 16 July 2012


I commuted for years, every day, by train, 
tube and bus, around town.
It was pretty tiresome as I recall, reaching a particular low
on the day I had to jump down onto the track at a London terminus 
when seven months pregnant, 
because of sudden horrific overcrowding 
on the station concourse and platform.

But I am quite certain it was never as bad as it is now -
I have just endured a one hour assault on my senses.
A man bellowed directions into his phone,
'Noooh! Noooh! Shepherd's Bush.
NooH! Whaat? NoooH! Not Richmond!
You come out... meet me at the exit!
Meet me at the EXIT.
Shepherd's Bush.
NooH! Where are you?
etc. etc.
This then turned, inexplicably, to a graphic stream of invective,
at which point I moved to the next carriage.

A man with BO and a cough sat next to me.
When he left, he was replaced by a man eating
a fried chicken drumstick with his elbow in my face.
The man on my left fell asleep and lolled towards me,
I shrank towards the fried chicken.
A woman opposite glared and grimaced 
as if at some internal conflict.
The voluble Brazilian family were at least incomprehensible,
but one of them was filing her nails.

I haven't got an i-Phone to gaze at, or a working i-Pod
to cancel out the other i-Pods.
I couldn't read my book.
So I shut my eyes
and I tried to picture Romney Marsh churches.

It didn't really work.
So I'm getting it off my chest here.


  1. That first shot is a masterpiece, Lucille..

  2. One day, Lucille, you must come and visit me here on the west coast of Ireland. It is the polar opposite of a crowded underground train.

  3. poor you, sounds like a nightmare. People do not have manners any more.

  4. This is why YD cycles 45 minutes every morning and evening across Amsterdam in all weathers . It's preferable to being jammed between drunken stag parties , puzzled tourists and mobile phone-addicts in a swaying tram .

  5. When its like that you just want to get home, shut the door and be at peace.........

  6. Some of what you describe reminds me of my daily commute on the NYC subway system. We now have young break dancers "entertaining" us in the aisle. I am just waiting for one of them or a passenger to be injured.

    I always keep a book or magazine at the ready hoping it will transport to another zone. Recent reading was The Wind in the Willows. Magic!


  7. the simple thought of having to go to London makes me feel dirty and sticky.

    At least the church was cool, calm and pretty.

  8. Sounds horrible! Sometimes (at the risk of sounding like some jaded, miserable old person) it does seem like the world's gone crazy. On a happier note, I just found out that Bob Dylan is going on tour with Mark Knopfler. I think I shall swoon :)