Saturday, 21 November 2009

Do the shuffle

Today I have been a good little Londoner. Tempting though it is to potter about at home or hit the pub, I took advantage of living within gobbing distance of some of the world’s finest museums and went to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum. It was great. The photographs were breath-taking. After pledging that I too will pick up my camera and attempt to use it for more than recording the occasional piss-up with friends or holiday snaps, I wandered down the road for a mooch around Harrods food hall and the gift section (i.e. the departments my credit card limit permits me to shop in). It was all very pleasant.
Shame half the world and his sister seemed to have had the same idea. Although it is encouraging to see lots of little people away from their computer games and educating themselves they do tend to get underfoot in museums. Oh, and they are noisy. Especially in such high volumes. And we had to queue to even get through the doors. Seriously.
Then there was Harrods. Him Indoors fancied a posh cake for pudding. We shuffled into the food hall and peered through the scrum at the counter to ogle the beautifully constructed pastries. The ticket machine dispensed number 34. They were serving number 11. We decided to go to M&S instead.
Heading down the road towards the tube, we crawled along with a throng of tourists as another throng shuffled along in the opposite direction. There was no room for over taking. Then disaster struck. The couple in front of us stopped to look in a shop window. It was total gridlock.
We finally got to the tube station. Through the barriers a small crowd were gathered. Approaching them we soon realised what had stopped them in their tracks. The top of the escalator. Pushing through the crowd we descended to the platform on the magic moving stairs, muttering about bloody tourists. We squeezed onto what appeared to be a packed train. Then I saw it - lots and lots of lovely space down the carriage. Apparently no-one else had spotted it, so Him Indoors and I sidled through a wall of rucksacks and luxuriated in our own personal space.
Yes, I am a grumpy cow of a Londoner. I accept that it is great for the economy that London seems to be attracting many tourists, the sliver lining in the cloud that is our failing pound. But honestly, please just get out of my way!

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