As if travelling to and from London in mid rush hour is not soul destroying enough, maintenance workers on the London Underground have decided to strike, due to a row over pensions and jobs. The result? The closure of nine tube networks, and chaos and disruption for the three million commuters who use the tube every day. And little old me is included in one of those three million commuters.
Thanking the Lord for small mercies, three out of the twelve tube lines are in full working order, so I was able to make my way to and from the office yesterday and today, albeit the long, drawn out, over crowded way. Trains, station platforms, buses and streets were full to bursting with stressed and frustrated people. Anxious vibes were bouncing off fellow passengers, as we squashed ourselves into confined spaces, rather like Harry Houdini performing a ‘fit into the tiny space’ magical trick.
One small consolation – the kids are back at school. Imagine a tube strike and the summer holidays.
Yesterday lunchtime I was able to walk the streets of London without the presence of the excited children in their summer holidays. No disrespect to them, of course they are entitled to travel to London and entertain themselves during their holidays. But now they are back safely in their school buildings, there are slightly less pedestrians on the pavements to worry about, and slightly less shoppers to bump into inside the shops.
I needed to visit the slightly less crowded shops to replace a few essential items. Is it my imagination or does everything seem to run out at the same time? This week I need to replace my deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, mascara and eyeliner.
So, a toiletry expedition to Boots the chemist was completed, and my next stop was House of Fraser. House of Fraser is my favourite department store, a large part of this could be due to the fact that I am an owner of one of their store cards. The store card that comes in rather handy if you are short of cash until pay day, or there is an unexpected birthday present to buy. Yesterday lunchtime I decided to treat myself to some fancy make up, hence the reason I found myself in House of Fraser. Not only do I hold one of their store cards in my (returned to owner) purse, it has a vast amount of make up to choose from.
A make up brand that I had not used before flashed before my eyes – Yves Saint Laurent. Or VSL for abbreviation purposes. Okay, I’ll be perfectly honest with you, the sales assistant tempted me with the words:
“Would you like some chocolate?”
“Oh yes please,” was my reply. And then she had me. Seduced into a free VSL make over and make up advice, with the allure of chocolate minstrels.
I have to admit to being impressed with her sales technique and make over. All sorts of brushes and tubes of liquid were applied to my face, while I sat on a stool munching her minstrels. The end product was a noticeably less tired and less prominently lined face.
“Wow,” said I, as I gazed into the mirror, feeling the old sparkle returning to my life.
And then the nice lady wrote on a piece of paper all the cosmetics she had used on my face, with prices. It took all the will power and concentration I could muster, not to let out a gasp as I read the list and noticed the final cost.
“Thanks for the chocolate and make over, but for now I'll just be purchasing the volume affect mascara and the black eye liner. I will have a think about the others.”
The famous "I will think about it." But she didn’t seem too disappointed, let’s face it the VSL mascara and eyeliner could hardly be classed as cheap.
Wearing my new eyeliner and mascara, I visited my friend Ann after my chaotic and disruptive journey home from the office. I have known Ann since I was eight years old. When I first met her I was two years younger than her oldest child is now. Her oldest child who started senior school yesterday. I remember when he was a mere twinkle in her eye.
Last night he looked suddenly all grown up, showing me his timetable and French homework.
“French homework? On your first day?!”
The outrage. I didn’t begin French lessons until I was at least in the second year of my senior school, and promptly dropped them in my third year. I calmed down when he explained the homework entailed writing his name in large French capital letters, and colouring the letters in, ready to display on his desk for the next lesson.
After examining his timetable and browsing through his French book, I watched him text his new friend their meeting arrangements for the following day. It’s all texts and French homework on first days at senior school these days. My, how things have changed and progressed.
Ann and I then trailed through 'e bay' searching for bargains while discussing George Michael, she shares my undying passion for him.
Next I said my goodbyes to her and her family, so I could have an early night, in preparation for the London Underground fiasco.
Let the battle commence.
Picture of the day: