There was no hint of anything wrong when I started my homeward journey last night from Waterloo but on arrival at Baker Street I encountered a flood of fellow commuters making their way down from the Metropolitan platforms to the depths below and knew something was awry. It turned out to be a defective train and all services to Wembley Park were suspended. LU’s helpful advice was to take the Jubilee but the announcer then added, blithely and with a hint of great joy, that there were severe delays on that line.
Disdaining the doubtful pleasures of a grossly overcrowded Jubbly, I chose a different route and made my weary way back to Oxford Circus, thence to go Central-linewards to Ruislip Gardens, where I daintily alighted* after a trouble free and fully seated journey.
Normally a defective train is fixed within an hour but last night was a total bodge. Mrs. Commuter, travelling home after a concert, found herself in a queue of barely moving trains outside Harrow at 11:30pm. I collected her there and was almost unable to reach the back entrance of the station, so many were the vehicles parked there on identical errands.
This morning the web site reported no service between Harrow and Uxbridge due to signal failure but the departure boards showed train movements so I left anyway for the station. On arrival a Met came in and I raced through the booking hall and up 45 steps to catch it. The doors closed as I reached the top and I resigned myself to a long wait but then they opened just long enough for me to sprint across the platform and, gasping but mildly elated, take a welcoming seat. The signal problem was obviously fixed but now there was a new problem at Wembley Park so we moved slowly and another precious fifteen minutes of my life was wasted. Well, not entirely. I played Another Case of Milton Jones** on my obsolescent but still functioning mp3 player and the journey passed in pleasure
*with thanks to John Betjeman
** A BBC Radio 4 comedy and it’s about time he had a new series