The Journey Home

I’m working out in Sunbury, miles away from where I live and from the office of the company I’m working for. Took a disk array from the office in Docklands over there by taxi this morning, £74; different route from usual, we went along Embankment and the north side of the Thames rather than crossing over and following the South Circular. Much faster, just over an hour instead of an hour and forty five minutes.

Today I got out of work relatively early, out of the office in Sunbury by a quarter to six. Most evenings recently I’ve been much later – a quarter to nine in one case.

I missed the train by a couple of minutes. That’s usually how it works out, so I sit alone on the platform and watch the people on the other platform. As their train arrives, more passengers arrive on my platform. Of the five people waiting, two are talking on their mobiles and two others sit with their phones in their hands, either texting or playing a game (or maybe even moblogging).

A heron flew over the station, first one I’ve seen since we got home. Also saw my first wasp of the year in the office today. Summer must be nearly here.

After almost half an hour the train finally pulls in. The train isn’t very busy but it’s definitely more crowded than I’m used to from usual later journeys.

Within a couple of stations the train is very full, hardly any seats left in my carriage, and a couple of people with large suitcases heading into town. Kingston fills the train right up.

New Malden – a girl dressed in long, colourful hippy-style clothes sits cross legged on the platform, drinking from a bottle of water. She’s heading south, away from the busy city, and will be joining hundreds of commuters also heading taht direction.

The train drops some people at Wimbledon; seems to be the first drop-off point where more people disembark than board the train. Clapham Junction is the other big one.

Trains going in the opposite direct are even busier, lots of people standing; at least going into town there’s a seat for almost everyone.

Heading to Earlsfield the train runs along an embankment raised up above the surrounding houses, so you can see the rooftops, with Crystal Palace transmitter to the South on our right.

Soon after that we’re in the opposite situation, running through a cutting with nothing but scrubby slopes and graffiti-covered concrete.

Clapham Junction is bustling, a strong smell of fresh coffee drifts into the carriage as we leave and the train rattles past the back of Asda.

Vic rings to ask me to pick up some rocket/roquette salad from Marks & Spencer at Waterloo station. The fridge has frozen the stuff we bought at the weekend. The thermostat gets knocked really easily and kills anything green in there.

Then it’s on to Vauxhall, past Sainsbury’s and Keybridge House where I worked for BT on the Genie project in 1999. Lots of people get off here, probably switching to the Victoria underground line.

Soon be at Waterloo; passing blocks of flats with people playing ball games in the green space nearby, the Houses of Parliament drift past on the left and the train slows to a crawl for the last few hundred yards.

Time to save this and get ready to brave the chaos that is Waterloo. Will give Krispy Kreme a miss tonight, expensive and tasty but just too rich to be eaten any more regularly than an occasional treat.