Kevin Rawlinson: Go west I was told – but getting there was no easy ride

On the buses

Share
Related Topics

Getting around London is difficult enough for an outsider. Many of us have been found wandering aimlessly round King's Cross, clutching a Tube map and muttering about how much easier it all is at home.

But when the Tube is crippled by strikes, to someone who has lived in the capital for a grand total of three days, Walthamstow and Kensington seem worlds apart. That said, the bloke on the bicycle who overtook the first of the four buses I got, looked rather pleased with himself. I tried to turn my head away but being pushed up against the window, I was forced to witness his relatively smooth progress down Ferry Lane.

It seems there are a lot of things you only consider when you find yourself standing with your head in someone's armpit on a bus. How they seem to cough every three seconds. How them listening to David Hasselhoff through their headphones so loud you could sing along is actually quite annoying. How you informing them of that fact doesn't seem to go down too well. How the Hoff's "Looking for Freedom" seems to stick in your head.

Thank God therefore, for the helpful bus driver who offered up such pearls of wisdom as: "Please, no standing upstairs, it is prohibited to stand upstairs. Could passengers please refrain from standing upstairs, to summarise, please no standing upstairs."

Another bus journey before a quick jaunt on one of the few sections of the Tube to be running passed. Both equally long. It was at this point that my companion finally lost faith and struck out on her own. On the fourth of my bus journeys, I was ashamed to simply accept the driver's refusal to open the doors after I missed my stop. I had wanted to follow the example set on my first day in London when one lady staged her very own Tiananmen Square-style protest on Oxford Street.

The irate woman stood in front of a bus, holding up traffic for so long that a commuters' revolt sprang up on board. Customers forced open the doors and cheered as she boarded.

The only positive thing to come out of the whole debacle? Getting to the office a full hour before my friend. I refrained from telling her that, in the end, I had got a taxi. She muttered something about wanting to go home – I know how she feels.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform