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It’s been almost a year since I moved from the Norfolk seaside to London. In that year I’ve moved from the north of London to south London, travelled a far bit and spent an hour, five days a week underground.
As commutes go, mines pretty easy. It’s definitely a lot shorter than a lot of Londoners’ commutes and I don’t have to catch the dreaded central line!
I even think I’ve learnt a few things during my commute and I’m sure most of you have without even realising. Here’s what I’ve learnt – let me know if you’ve learnt anything else in the comments below!
How to read standing up
I’ve definitely become a bit of a pro at reading whilst standing up. I’m pretty proficient when it comes to balancing a coffe in one hand, paper/kindle/TimeOut/book in the other, drinking said coffee and trying not to hit the people standing next to (read on) with my elbow when turning the page. All this whilst also mastering that small matter of trying to stay upright as the tube hurtles through the tunnels of the Underground. Being a London commuter will teach you how to balance that’s for sure.
That my bum is clearly bigger than I think
I hope I’m not the only one who gets overexcited at the prospect of a free seat. I’ve been known to get so excited upon spotting a free seat that I’ve ended up sitting down, at speed, on the armrest and bumping my arse on the way down…ouch!
Take the tube during rush hour and noone talks. It’s almost silent apart from the music blasting out of someone’s earphones, the slurping of coffee and the passive-aggressive turning of pages of the Metro as if this will get someone to move their arm of the arm rest so they you can use it. We’re a slightly nicer bunch at the weekend when the unwritten rule of silence has been lifted. But it’s still only the Aussies, Kiwis and Americans that actually talk on the tube.
To control my body temperature in sweltering heat
Take the London underground in the summer and you’ll learn how to use mind over matter and not turn up to work a sweating mess. This skill is also useful in the winter when you wrap up warm for your walk from house to tube and tube to office but have to turn your body temperature down a notch to counter the tubes’ heating. I reckon we’d all do pretty well in the Sahara after a year of commuting.
How to walk fast
Spend one week commuting in London and you’ll have this skill down. The only problem is relearning how to walk slow when friends from outside the capital come to visit you. I just can’t turn down my walking speed anymore!
That the Victoria line is the best line
It just is. Okay?
That anything above a two minute wait for the next tube or bus is unacceptable
When you make your way down the escalator only to see the train isn’t for another four minutes you’ll probably let our one of those disgruntled Londoner sighs. FOUR MINUTES!? How unreasonable! How could I possibly be expected to wait a whole FOUR minutes? This comes from someone who used to live in the countryside with one bus every two hours…
How to seriously lower your expenses by making the most of tube offers
If you took up all the discounts offer on the tube you could probably save a fortunate. You can save money on everything from your drycleaning, foreign currencies, hotels, food deliveries, and haircuts. How generous.
That the tube is pretty brilliant and we’re lucky to have it
I’m always a little bit disappointed nowadays when I travel abroad and find that their transport system doesn’t match up to the London Underground. The Underground covers so much of London and it’s pretty reliable too. It may be dirty and smelly but it’s still great.