Monday, March 20, 2006

The one hour dash

So...I had a ticket on the National Express to Brighton at 12pm. I set the alarm for 8am, but being me I switched it off when it rang and continued sleeping. I got up at 11am, looked at my table clock and jumped! For 30 seconds I pondered whether I should try to dash it to Victoria or write the ticket off and get a later train.

I decided I was going to try to make it. I grabbed some clothings and stuffed them into my rucksack. I dressed (we guys can change in less than a minute). I grabbed my mobile, PDA and DS and chucked them into my Carhatt jacket. Rushing down the house I went into the loo to brush my teeth and splash some (cold) water on my face while trying to sort out my hair. I also had to make sure I had my wallet, Oyster card and ticket.

I was out of the house in less than 5 minutes - but still had to get from Ealing Broadway to Vicrotia Coach Station in 55 minutes. The station is about a mile from where I stay so I ran down as fast as I could. I was a little dazed, but I did make the station in time (6 minutes I believe) and jumped on the Central Line train which was about to leave.

I sat down. I checked the time and wondered if I should hop down at Notting Hill station and take the Circle Line whether that would be quicker than the Oxford Circus -> Victoria Line. Meanwhile a group of Poles were chattering in front of me. At Notting Hill, I took my chance and disembarked.

It was 11.23am. I thought that I will surely make it. It was a gamble worth risking. I knew that there is a shortcut from the Central Line platform to the District Line platform but because Notting Hill isn't on my list of frequently traveled to stations, I had to navigate through the usual path up through three sets of escalators and and the short stairs down to the District Line platform. It was straight forward and only hampered by tourists who were obviously too stupid to read the 'Stand on the right' rule.

I looked up at the information display. The next Circle Line train will arrive in 9 minutes. I swore under my breath. I didn't count on the fact that Circle Line trains are rarer. I wanted to board the Wimbledon train to Earl's Court but decided to wait.

While waiting I remembered that the pathway separating the Central Line platform at Oxford Circus, to the Victoria Line platform was more straightforward and shorter than the one on this station. I swore again to myself. It wasn't until 11.36am that my train arrived and I sat down and hoped that no delays will manifest itself. I do not want to pay £30 for the train to Brighton.

The train parked itself on the Eastbound Victoria platform at 11.47am. I walked quickly through the Tube station before running up the stairs into Victoria train station. On a usual day I would spend around 30 minutes in Victoria station perusing a magazine at WHSmith and then look around at HMV and GAME, but today I had to run through the station. The clock on the Victoria Station information board read 9.50am. Any day I would be trying to catch some of the news on the BBC screen but as you know I couldn't, not now at least.

I made it. I reached the coach with 3 minutes to spare; I slumped down into my seat. Three minutes later the driver closed the door and was ready to depart when a lady rushed up an knocked on the door. She was asking the driver to wait while she buys her ticket from the counter. The driver was having none of this and said that he would be leaving. Another guy came up and requested the same. The driver shrugged off the lot "Look, I am leaving now. Bye." The coach left the station and I proceeded to sleep.

So how was your weekend?

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