It was one of those days today when they get the frequency of trains going along the Bank branch wrong. I ended up taking a near-empty Charing Cross train to Camden before attempting the “Camden hop” (up the stairs and back down the other side) in a sweltering clump of angry commuter. I am always astounded by what people consider to be appropriate behaviour during moments like that. A train was waiting at the station, which meant there was a huge pile up of people, half of whom were getting off the train, whilst the rest, realising there were precious few Bank trains, were suddenly running down the stairs pushing people out of the way like a bad game of skittles.
...And then, just as the situation couldn’t have got more dangerous, a small child appeared on one of those irritating pink neon scooters (the ones which always end up being carried by parents because the kids who ride them get bored and want to go home). This particular little bogey-flicker was using the platform as a lovely smooth surface to scoot on, blissfully unaware of the rush of people heading down the stairs towards him. Carnage. One man slipped whilst trying, last minute, to avoid the little brat. Another stopped in his tracks and created a pile-up. My bag fell off my shoulder and the husky mug I’d bought in Canada in 1992, which I’ve been trying to use to avoid wasting paper cups, smashed on the floor into a thousand dangerous shards.
The train doors closed in slow motion and none of us made it onto the train. When the Dad of the child kicked off and told us all to watch what we were doing, I wondered if he deserved to be throttled! It’s one thing to bring up your child to think it’s the centre of everyone’s world, but quite something else to believe it yourself!
Yes, yes, I know children need to be able to stretch their legs and express themselves, but it’s vital, for the safety of the world, that parents assess risks properly.
I waited for the crowd to disperse, before carefully picking up the pieces of my 26-year old Canadian companion, which I wrapped in the newspaper I’d been reading. It was the last of a little set, including a bowl, a plate and two mugs, which I bought when our youth orchestra went on tour to Canada. Every time I got one out of the cupboard, a little memory of that golden time would pop into my head. But one by one they broke.
As I dropped the shards of the last one into the bin, I could have sworn I heard a husky dog crying...