It’s ten past nine and I’m in Penge. I shouldn’t be in Penge. I don’t even know where Penge is. Does Penge give you itchy skin?
It all started so well. Half seven and I was on the Embankment, a beautiful low-lit, frosty London vista and I’m feeling good. I have a short hop down to the shiny new office and a full day ahead of me. Something bothered me though, you know that moment when you sense a disturbance in the force? An eastbound service arrived at Tower Hill and just a few people alighted. That moment when you check your phone, just to make sure it’s not Sunday.
So, I was looking forward to coffee and breakfast before my train as I climbed the steps up the concourse at Charing Cross. No trains. Very few people. The departures board was flashing like a 70’s disco, people grooving as the words ‘cancelled’ and ‘delayed’ flashed around the station. Go to Victoria they said! A derailment at Lewisham, a freight train on it’s side. My heart sank.
Victoria is chaos.
Plenty of staff at Charing Cross. None at Victoria. Eventually a man in a hut tells me to get on the train at platform five. There isn’t a train at platform five. I opt for the one on platform four as it’s sort-of going in the right direction. Orpington. I don’t even know where that is but I’m assured it’s in the right area. I arrange to be picked up there. We reach Bromley South and terminate unexpectedly. I have no idea where I am. Wish I had my Baker Atlas. It’s rare for me to have absolutely no idea what’s going on or where to go.I want to cry.
I hate trains.