Another Eventful Journey to London

This morning I was dropped off early at the train station and started my trip into London. Thinking I now had the choice of 3 trains so no rushing required. As I arrive at the platform I see that the first two trains are delayed by 15-20 minutes. When the first train arrived it was standing room only, it was followed by another standing room only train directly behind it. So, now I have to just jump on and hope for the best. I stood for awhile and then a jump seat opened up. I sat down and realised that the dimensions of the jump seat did not match the dimensions of my backside. After about 20 minutes I could not feel my right leg as my bum was hanging half off the seat! There were a couple other things that I did not take into account when I took this seat. Firstly, it is directly in front of the toilet. Secondly, the jump seats are much lower than a normal seat. As the parade of gentlemen, who obviously drank too much coffee this morning, continues into and out of the toilet. I realise that when the train stops in Paddington I will have to hoist myself up out of the seat with a numb right leg. Not a pretty sight I will assure you.

Off the train and onto the platform I now see that we have come into Paddington Platform 1 which is the furthest possible point from the taxi rank which is past Platform 12. Oh well, off I go. I get to the escalator and it is not working…no way I’m walking up those stairs! There were actually queues waiting for the lift. I wait my turn and then as the lift opens I see the queue for the taxis is further back than I have ever seen in all my years of doing this journey. I look at my watch and the early start I had has now evaporated and I will be lucky to get to the office before my meetings start. Finally I get into the cab and I am immediately hit with the powerful smell of cherries. My driver had two plastic or glass cherries hanging from his mirror and this was his air freshener. It was more like an oxygen destroyer! I could not breathe without opening the window and sticking my head out. I know these guys like to keep their cabs clean and tidy but there is a limit to how much freshener is too much. I paid for my taxi and inhaled a deep breath of cherry free air. I finally made it to the office…now my day can begin.

Should we be afraid?

I travelled into our London office today and the atmosphere on the journey in was very different. It is the first day back to school for many districts but the usual buzz that comes with this day was not in the air. Instead there was a strained and tense feeling at the station, on the train and on the streets as you walked. People were looking at each other a bit closer, checking out what you were carrying. The government raised the alert level last week and you can really tell a difference. I am sitting here in central London in what I am told is a bomb proof building. When I learned that last week at first I thought “how sad that we have to bomb proof our buildings” but then that knowledge actually made me feel safer. I don’t know how it is for you but for me I am stuck between wanting to know as much as possible about the threats we are facing and not wanting to know so much that I become concerned enough to change my plans and actions. It is that fine line between vigilant and overly cautious. I would like to say that it does not bother me and I will always do the British thing and “keep calm and carry on” however, I have to admit it I do feel a bit uneasy today on a journey that I would not usually think twice about taking. How are you feeling?