McGuinness on…the scenic view

Posted on March 3, 2011


Police yesterday cordoned off large areas of central London, most notably the road between Chancery Lane to Aldwych, including the Royal Courts of Justice, because of reported car bombs. It’s unclear whether it was a hoax or false evidence but, thankfully, there were no casualties. Except my journey home.And others besides, I’m sure. I’d decided to hop on a bus rather than delve into the abyss of the Underground last night, preferring to take in the longer hours of daylight in the evening than entering the mole world of pitch black tube travel.

It’s the time of the year when twilight lingers and every now and then you just hope, with some reason, that the nightime will stay away a little longer. But knowing that pipedreams (rather than pipebombs) are defused as quickly as they’re planted, I still feel warranted by choosing to take the upper deck, on the upper deck.

Additionally I get incredibly sleepy when reading on the train. The newspaper is OK, a bit o’ Metro or Evening Standard, the traditional tube fare, perhaps because we’re concentrating less or not so concerned with the outcomes of the story.

But this past week I’ve actually picked up a proper book, not a Kindle or iPad on which to read the stories of old with a modern twist, but the classic paper and pages, thumbing through a whirlwind romance as the rats rush me from side to side and back to the start.

And even when I allow the wonders of London to skim past my eyes, perking up briefly to take in the Thames – the one natural thing we can claim as our own, us Geographers that study the natural world rather than the metropolis in which we, ironically, base our studies – I know that I made the right choice to move through the streets while nobody sleeps.

Perhaps that places me in the eternal struggle; I know that I don’t want to take the tube, but it’s easier and unless I’m claiming my travel back (I’m not), taking the big train to the city centre quickly becomes an expensive habit. I love the sun, I love the rain, I love the elements, and cwtching up down below on the morning commute removes me from reality. I spend most of my day staring at a computer, thinking how I should think rather than the way I wish to, and having the chance just once a day to stare out of the window, see the sky, feel the wind or my face or the breeze in my hair, it just gives me the energy I need to make it all worthwhile.

Which is why I’ll always prefer the scenic view. But perhaps I should protect my love of it by keeping it as a treat.

My life has taken a peculiar detour at this stage, methinks!


Posted in: 'News', Transport