Wednesday 17 October 2012

Glad to be here

 I went up to town yesterday,
by train and then by tube.
A young woman ahead of me
was carrying a sleeping baby
in a buggy, up a flight of stairs.

The next ascent was by escalator.
She was still some way ahead of me
but I saw that she was struggling to balance it
and tipped slightly into the people walking up
before she righted it.
But as we neared the top 
I saw that people were not moving off.
They couldn't, 
because now the front wheel of the buggy was stuck.
We piled inexorably into each other.
And as it dawned on me, surprisingly slowly,
that something really bad was happening,
I said aloud, 'What shall I do?'
and at the very moment that I thought,
'there is nothing I can do,
how stupid this is,'
the blockage freed
and we toppled onto the concourse.
A wheel had come off the buggy.
We managed to fix the wheel back on.
The other passengers melted away.
Five minutes, at most, had elapsed.
By a miracle, nobody was hurt.
The baby was still asleep.

I had to go back up to town again today.
I took the train 
and then I walked.


  1. The sunlit shots are beautiful, and there is a lot to be said for not going to town at all. Poor woman with the buggy.

  2. I'm delighted that it wasn't any more than a narrow escape . It must have been terrifying .
    My father had a similar moment when a dog ahead of him got his paw stuck in the top of the escalator . He never liked travelling on one again .

  3. Oh how terrible, even though it all came out right in the end..... I don't blame you for walking the next time.

  4. I find it difficult to breathe thinking of you helplessly stuck, crowding upon the people in front of you. Thank goodness you are safe and no-one was hurt but I'm afraid the fear will take a while to recede.

  5. Imagine how that young mother is going to feel the next time she has to take the baby and buggy up an escalator.........
    As with Alice, this post had me holding my breath.

  6. What a moment. I do a daily commute via NYC's subway system, and have witnessed many near misses, involving stairs or escalators. Many of our multi-story city stores also feature escalators that do not always operate to perfection.

    Baby buggies/strollers really add another scary potential to the mix, but sometimes there is no alternative.

    This post sort of gives another meaning to Useful or Beautiful. xo

  7. Beautiful images, I am grateful that you were spared to take them. I have always been nervous of escalators and those other things - travelators?

  8. What a horrible moment. I'm taking two little boys out this weekend and I'm already feeling nervous ... I don't mind going up, but I hate going down with nothing to hold on to myself .
    On a happier note, I really like your wallpaper.

  9. First, I'm glad you weren't hurt. Second, I love your ending!

    I had a frightening escalator experience in Washington DC one July 4 (America's big holiday--ahem). After watching a fireworks display at the Smithsonian mall, literally tens of thousands of us shuffled en masse, barely an inch between us toward the escalators to take us underground to the subway (metro??). We budged slowly along and finally reached the escalator. It was so crowded, and the air so suffocating that I wanted to escape back outside, but there was no way to move in any direction but the direction we were being taken. So there I was, literally smashed shoulder to shoulder on that escalator with strangers (I'd been separated from in our group everyone but my son). The escalators were so crowded that I wondered that there hadn't been an accident. Partway down the escalator, there was a sudden jerk, and the front end of each step collapsed so that the escalator was now almost like a flat, chutelike surface (at least the part I was on). Then the escalator sped up to a scary speed, and it felt like we were surfing. There was a lot of screaming (not by *me*, of course!). Fairly quickly, thankfully, the escalator jerked to a stop. I am still in wonder that we did not all go tumbling forward on top of each other at that point. If we had, it would have truly been disastrous.

    Well. I didn't mean to say all of that, Lucille, but there it is. I'll pretend that we're just sitting having a cup of coffee together and chatting about our escalator experiences! That would be nice. To sit and have a chat. :-)

    (I had you in my reader, but your posts haven't been coming through. I'll add you again!)

  10. I am terribly afraid of escalators, a fact which my daughter realized at a very early age. To this day she still can't resist pretending to be stuck or falling or being sucked into the invisible void at the top of the stairs. Drives me crazy!!! Of course, she knows that.

  11. I am very glad that you are here too!

    How grateful I am that escalators barely feature in my country bumpkin existence, and that despite being desperately overdue at the Linnean Society (only by a couple of years or so! ) I have no plans at all for a trip to town.

    My grandmother swore that escalators and lifts were the devil's work, I fear she may have had a point!