Monday, 30 January 2012

Strictly Come London

So, for Christmas, Heather presented me with two tickets for the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour at the O2 arena in my VERY favourite place - London. (That was irony, by the way - no, actually, let's not be coy, that was sarcasm). And yesterday was show day.

Luckily, she had the foresight to get tickets for the matinee, because I suspect she realised I'd need time to recover from the London trauma in the evening before going to bed, and time not to think about the impeding London trauma in the morning before we set off. It takes a lot of time and effort and planning for my loved ones to get me to London. I'm surprised they haven't resorted to tranquillisers in my tea. Or just given up completely. I would.

And so it was that I had only a smidge of time to do the ironing and get into a minor grouch before Andy said, 'Come on, let's go to the station.'

This is how I feel going up to London: I fret about trains being delayed, I fret about trains breaking down. I fret about drunks on the train, I fret about small children having to listen to idiot teenage boys who love the sound of their own voices swearing loudly on the train. I fret about having to sit to close to the loos because the ones on the old rolling stock are decidely niffy and Southeastern Trains ought to be ASHAMED of themselves. I fret about people riding the trains without paying. I fret about falling down the gap betwixt train and platform when I get off the train. I fret about not getting off the train at the right station. I fret about catching headlice if I rest my head on the headrest, and banging my head on the window if I accidentally fall asleep. Falling asleep is unlikely as I am constantly on guard for bag thieves.

I fret about someone snatching my bag. I fret about graffiti. I fret about high-rise flats and the people who have to live in them. I fret about all the scruffy little unkempt and unloved back gardens we pass that back onto the railway line. And that's before we've even arrived. Oh, I always fret about losing my ticket.

To make matters worse, we then had to go on the Tube. Sometimes I think I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than go on the Tube. On the Tube I fret about explosions, over-crowding, pushing and shoving, bubonic plague and getting my shoe trapped in the sliding doors. I fret about the train being hijacked by a maniac faux Tube driver who has wanted to be a Tube driver since he was three, but didn't pass the tests and has, over the years become so obsessed with driving a Tube train NO MATTER WHAT, that eventually he steals one and drives round and round, faster and faster for hours on end, cackling like a loon with me screaming to be let off.

And when I am let off I discover I've been going COMPLETELY the wrong way because my lack of sense of direction means I can't tell my Eastbound from my Westbound and my Waterloo from my Jubilee.

Luckily, the Tube journey was only four stops, during which I managed to hold my breath most of the way, thereby avoiding hyperventilating and the bubonic plague. Bit of a hot flush, mind. Be thankful for small mercies, I told myself.

The O2 arena aka the Millennium Dome (or Linoleum Gnome as I remember calling it when it was being built 14 odd years ago), is a huge, lumbering, graceless obscenity of a building. It is cold, and soulless and full of eating places, none of which looked like they'd serve us a quick lunch because they were all packed to the rafters with people who seemed to enjoy London - eurkk! So we ended up grabbing sandwiches, crisps and chocolate from a newsagenty type place, and then eating them standing up because all the benches were full.

The section of the arena in which our seats were located was pretty much vertical. I've been to only one venue that had a steeper rake on the circle than this, and that was the Wyndham where I spent the whole of the play I was seeing leaning backwards because I felt certain if I sat upright I'd tilt off my seat, and plummet over the balcony into the stalls below. AND after that trip to London, the people I was with insisted we all go to Chinatown for a meal which gave me a whole new set of irrational complexes to fret about including how come, with it being midnight, was it still so light outside? If you want to blame somewhere for global warming, blame Chinatown in London - all those unnecessary lights! I ask you...

I digress. The show was good. Very entertaining. I barely thought about the return journey home.

Waiting on the platform at London Bridge - was it the right platform? What if the train divided into two at Orpington and we were in the wrong half and ended up in Antwerp? - I had a Mars Bar. I haven't had a Mars Bar for YEARS. It made my teeth go on edge but gave me enough of a sugar rush to keep me thinking about the toasted cheese sandwich I was going to have when I got home (IF I got home - someone might have stolen the car from the station car park). Oh yes, I was having melted cheese to celebrate the conquering of London against all odds (mwahahahahahahaaaaa!!!) regardless of a) the diet and b) the information I read recently that melted cheese is the most difficult food for the human body to digest.

Of course we got home okay. It was, as usual, an uneventful journey. But only because I defended us from all evils by thinking about all permutations of aforesaid evils and thereby negating the possibility of them actually occuring.

I paid for the melted cheese today.

But it was worth it.


Anonymous said...

I think I might have to consider my Christmas presents a little more cautiously? oh my :S sorry!

Andy said...

And this is why I always go to London with you, to protect you from all the horrors.

And I think I only yanked your arm off once! Sorry! Xxxx