Bad call

If you’re ever in a position of choice between taking the tube from Embankment or walking across Waterloo Bridge, I’d always choose the latter. At least that’s what I thought before today. Sadly, this is no longer true. My newest aphorism is “if in doubt, catch the Tube”.

I’d seen the weather report so cannot plead ignorance. Even sitting in the restaurant where Mirinda and I had Italian for lunch, the rain was heavy enough for me to see it without my glasses. Did I heed the warning of Apollo or hear the glee of Thor? Not a bit!

We had a lovely lunch in a new place (for us). The thing about the location of Mirinda’s office is that there are enough restaurants within a lunchtime radius that we will probably never run out of a new one every Wednesday. We wander, Mirinda spots somewhere, we eat. Brilliant strategy.

I would normally have a Fiorentina pizza in an Italian place but the special salmon in a lime, coriander and butter sauce was too good to pass up. Apart from the calorific content (about the weight of an adult yak) it was perfect. I guess that really means it tasted great but was very, very bad. Too bad, I say! In all senses.

Earlier in the day (before I left home) I realised that someone had stolen my umbrella. Given that the last time I saw it was hanging from a hook by the front door, it could only be one of three and I’m pretty sure the poodles would have difficulty working the opening mechanism.

As I looked out from the restaurant window, smiling at the poor tourists running from shelter to shelter and the lunchtime workers battling against the wind with their oversized golf umbrellas, I remembered I didn’t have mine anymore.

Normally I’m rather reticent when it comes to umbrellas. I think they are dangerous and pretty useless when there’s even a puff of wind. However, it’s always nice to know there’s one in my bag if I’m ever caught up in a drench emergency. Like today.

After lunch, the rain having eased off to the faintest of faint drips, I walked Mirinda back to her office and then set off back to Waterloo. I stood at a metaphoric crossroads in Embankment Park. Left to Waterloo Bridge or right to Embankment Tube. Stupidly, I turned left.

15 minutes later I was standing in front of the platform indicators in Waterloo concourse, soaking wet with no-one to blame but myself. Never mind, I thought glumly, the train will be announced shortly and I can strip off my wet outer garments and be relatively comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can be on a South West Trains 450 carriage.

The announcements at Waterloo station are terrible. It’s not a language or accent thing because generally the announcer has clear diction and an easy to understand accent. The problem with the public address system at Waterloo Station is one of pitch. A voice needs to be of a certain tone otherwise any long information will become indecipherable.

For instance, today the train was delayed for some reason – it said so on the indicator board – and some bright spark figured it would be a good idea to let us know why. The message sounded a little something like this:

For those passengers waiting for the 13:23 train to Alton this train gmbld nmukl grmmb drddldrd grmp dmp dmp [this actually went on for ages but you get the idea] very shortly.

I’d like someone to tell me why that was necessary. It wasn’t just me, there were plenty of other passengers looking completely mystified, some asking other people what had been said and getting only shrugs in reply.

Anyway, eventually the indicator changed and I boarded the train on platform 11 (where a train had been sitting all the time I’d been waiting) and, apart from leaving a few minutes late, had an uneventful trip home.

Here’s one of the only decent photos I took today. It features Embankment Pier where Mirinda catches her ferry (one very similar to the one in the shot) and, if you look carefully, you can see her building.

Embankment Pier

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