The South Bank is my favourite part of London no doubt. Nick was off at a seminar today - the topic - optimal foetal positioning, Mary told me this afternoon that sitting forward was the key, that took 20 seconds. So why Nick was out all day is beyond me. Anyway that's beyond the point, that point being, Eben and I had the day on our own - a rare treat. So, I promised to take him up to see the Skateboarders under the National Theatre, have some lunch at the NFT before heading to Horniman museum in the afternoon.
Very nice day it was too. Ebs is a bit ill but that's just Autumn and 2 year olds. Despite that we got - Skateboarders, BMXers, spliff smoking steel drum players, a man with very long fake arms that patted us on the head, pet goats, a plethora of instruments from jews harps to bongos experimented with, a very aggressive rooster (not very rockin'), a 19th Century merman, a stuffed Jaguar, an Amazonian canoe, a torture chair, (goddam he loved that chair, I'm glad it was behind glass) and all punctuated by 6 train journey's all over South London, each one slightly more exciting than the last, apart from maybe the last one where he was tailng off a bit and fell asleep in my lap.
And boy did we meander, which appears to have become a thing of history - every other person we encountered seemed to have somewhere to go. It's Sunday, chill people. Nope. Everywhere I looked people were speed-reading fashion supplements. The 14 year old skaters were impatient, I mean what have they got to get home to, apart from a 5 bedroom semi in Richmond and pushy parents with homework in their exasperated mitts. Everyone bustling around too quickly to actually catch what was actually happening on the South Bank - blimey, most unrelaxing.
And what about me and Ebs - well it took us 2 hours to walk 3/4 of a mile from the NFT to the footbridge to take us to Charing Cross station - there's an awful lot of pigeons and squirrels to chase you know.
I was perfectly chirpy I have to say but, it did make me think that we've become a bit shit as a species. When did our survival instinct become, needing a latte and quick. This was confirmed later on when on our 5th train journey the thing happened that Nic and I have discussed a dozen times. We pulled in to a station, woman with buggy got off and the buggy slipped in to the gap between train and platform.
Something really does need to be done about this, I don't know whether this is true of all trains but round this way it's a plague. Clapham Junction is ridiculous. The angle of train to platform in some places means that you have to hop up to 18 inches to make the platform - not great if you're 85 and have arthiritis.
The woman started screaming, so i jumped up grabbed Eben, shoved my buggy out of the way and in the process barged some one else out of the way to go and pull the fucking emergency cord. I was a little bit incapacitated with Ebs to do much else, but it was fine she got out after freaking her kids out by being a bit hysterical. And all the while everyone else mostly watched and looked concerned. Stop looking concerned and do something you idiots.
I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that the one for all and all for me instinct apears to have taken hold as a naturally occurring gene now, or maybe it's just all the estrogen in the water or something, because we sure as hell don't help our fellow human anymore - well not if it breaks in to a great tune on your iPod.
And another thing - the emergency cord expereience was a bit disappointing, I fully expected sirens and flashing lights and thousands of panicked station staff. Alas all I got was a slightly irate train driver being perplexed by the fact someone could have possibly got stuck in that gap and annoyed because he couldn't reset it. Ah well at least I've done it now