Pounding the Streets. 11 February 2014

Why the recent tube strikes haven't been all bad. 

The Jam may have sung about Going Underground but it's going overground that makes you appreciate your surroundings in the big city.

When we heard the news just now that this week’s tube strike has been called off, there was a lot of ‘whooping’ in the office. It’s very good news for our three press nights this week, all situated outside of central London, and a big relief for the critics who will no longer have to battle with numerousovercrowded buses to try and get there.

My commute in from Hertfordshire every day normally takes just over an hour each way, so any disruption and delays really annoy me. During the tube strike last week I had no choice but to walk from the mainline station to the office in Covent Garden, as the buses were already full when they reached the stops with queues of about 50 people.

Normally when I’m walking around London, I am in a rush, trying to get through the hordes of tourists. Travelling on foot from Kings Cross during the strike was like taking part in a sponsored walk, everyone was heading in the same direction.

There were so many people on the pavement that it made it impossible to walk quickly and weave through the crowds. So, I took the opportunity to look up, and around, and appreciate my surroundings. It’s easy to take London for granted. Some of the buildings are architectural masterpieces, yet when we are racing around the capital, do we even really notice them? I love London in the morning, when it hasn’t quite woken up. It’s so peaceful.

So one positive effect of the tube strike is that I’m going to make myself do the walk every now and again. Not only does it mean I don’t have to be squashed on the tube with my face in someone’s armpit, but it means I get to work feeling a bit more awake and refreshed. Maybe you should try it.

Hannah Schmitz


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