Just a Quickie – Transport…

Whether they nationalise the railways again or not, do we really need to pay that high a price?

Why does a return ticket to London cost me £44 minimum, off peak? The journey lasts just 50 minutes after all, if I manage to get a fast train. Often I find myself stood up for the duration, as seats are taken long before my arrival. Alternatively, I stop at dozens of stations and have to wait an hour and a half to get to Kings Cross. What exactly do these private companies do with my money? Perhaps the government are right to move away from franchising. Definitely the East Coast Mainline still suffers lots of disruptions and cancellations. My own train to London was cancelled just a week ago so I changed to an open return once more.

It seems to me that they should have worked out how to keep the trains running when it snows these days too. But, just this February, everything came to a standstill when a blanket of snow hit us for a few days. Seats often look scuffed and bins are regularly overflowing. I just do not understand what these companies invest in.

However, I much prefer travelling by trains to sitting in traffic, frustrated by fumes, bad drivers and roadworks. I just wish these large companies could communicate better and have a more robust strategy for keeping their trains on time and delivering enough seats for the services they offer. In Germany and France I rarely suffer any setbacks and the overall experience for me has been much nicer and swifter.

What do you think about our transport network?

A Day Out in London

A long awaited day out in London proved to be sunny and refreshing. Visiting my cousin who has recently moved to South London, my aunt and I took the fast train in and, for once, plenty of seats were available. This was the first time in ages that I have not had to stand in the galley for fifty minutes.

Kings Cross station was fairly quiet and the gleaming sun shone warmly through the lovely ceiling of this grand old station this morning.

Having taken the tube and a bus to Streatham, we assessed her new flat, which sits comfortably above a pub, just far enough from the High Street to somehow disguise the ambient noise. The pub looked enticing so we ended up trying out the food there, perusing a menu which had a great selection of roasts. I vied for a burger in the end.

The little, busy town of Streatham seems very multicultural with some really tempting cuisines from restaurants such as those of Ethiopian origin and Spanish too. The town centre thrives and buzzes and feels friendly and I imagine it would have an excellent night life. As a writer, I stood in the little park outside my cousins’s place and imagined the many events that must have taken place there and the possible stories that I might be able to describe. I envisaged many first kisses, the odd argument, protests, celebrations, Christmas decorations and probably old brass bands. I can imagine many people fell in and out of relationships there. My head is filled with possibilities.

Part of me wants to live in London with its theatres and museums and wonderful selection of foods. Streatham is contemporary enough for me. It is alive with multiple pockets of intriguing activity. Yet the mix of towns and villages that Cambridgeshire has still draws me back in, as it does every time. London shall always be somewhere I love to visit, though.

What is your favourite part of Streatham?