Sunday, 3 April 2011

Making the most of the journey.

When I took my new job, two months ago now, the thing that worried me the most was the traveling time. No longer was it going to be a 15 minute car journey, but a 45 minute train ride. No longer was it going to be 20 minutes door to door, but an hour. The words of advice from a good friend were, 'Make the journey a useful part of your day, that way it won't seem like the journey eats into your day but is part of it'. Wise words indeed. And so I chose to make use of the 45 minutes by reading, a passion of mine that I'd never found much time for over the last 10 years or so. So I now own a Kindle and get through about a book a week. No longer do I wait for the train to arrive before getting comfortable with my book, but start reading it on the platform. The journey is now very much part of my day. Why then did I find the trips I used to have to take to London once or twice a week such a daunting task ? OK, the train journey was about 2 hours and not an hour, but back then my iPOD still worked. OK, I had to get up pretty early and was generally too tired to read a book, but what about the journey from Euston to Canary Wharf ? The trip on London's Underground ? And then it all came back to me. The journey down the escallator into the furnace, getting hotter the deeper you got (which made the Northern Line almost unbearable at times), the platforms crammed with bodies (it usually took 4 tube trains before I managed to get even a chance of getting on one), the mass of bodies crammed into the carriages, when you finally managed to get on one, where you spent the next 20 minutes looking at someone's armpit. So that was it. There was no chance to unwind and relax. The days were too long, I was too tired, and by the time I was awake enough the tubes were never hospitable enough. Although I remember that some people on the tube had managed to master reading a book whilst being supported by the mass of bodies around them, it was something that I never aspired to. For those who still make the journey or, worst still, have to use the London Underground every day, here are a few survival tips from the calendar.
Hopefully something that will never prove useful, but here they are anyway.
I'm off to New York this week, for the Mocca Comic Book event. I've never been to New York before and maybe I'll end up on the Metro (I think they call it the Metro), way below the New York blocks. I wonder if its as unwelcoming as the London Underground ? I can't imagine it being worse, although hopefully I'll be avoiding 'Rush Hour', which in London seems to cover about 2 hours these days, so I'm hoping for it to be less busy.

I'll not be taking my Kindle though, just another thing to worry about on the journey, and will fall back to reading things on paper. I've picked this week's New Scientist and Fortean Times magazines, both of which look very interesting, so I should be fine.


  1. Hello Dave. I just found your blog and
    i am curious about those "Calendars Advices". Where they came from?
    Kind regards

  2. Sorry Alexandre, just found that I haven't responded to your comment ... they came from a 'page a day' desk diary ... didn't see one available for 2012 when I looked but these things typically hit the shops around November over here in the UK.