Sunday, 12 September 2010

Let's take a long walk...

Last Monday and Tuesday London and Londoners were forced to enter into a bizarre survival mode. As we marched through the more crowded than usual streets and queued for buses or thanked St Boris for his bikes I must have been in a minority in thanking Bob Crow and his comrades for forcing an opportunity on me to enjoy a long walk home from east to west London.

So after double-bowing my trainer laces I left the Bank of England behind me and commenced upon the 6 and a bit miles home. My twitter friends will know that I am currently trying to master this distance at a respectable jogging pace but on this particular day I'd already attempted (died on my backside) to run the distance in to work that morning so a Harold-from-Neighbours-esque power walk home it was.

Though I've lived in and around London for the last 15 years I am still in awe of some sights and buildings I see. St. Paul's Cathedral is one of them.

Unfortunately as I'm now becoming used to pounding the pavements of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street to lose lbs as opposed to £s, these particular sights do not amaze me, they more frustrate me and make me walk/run with my elbows pointed out at an angle. And on this odd Tuesday evening I wasn't alone as cyclists, buses, pedestrians, cabbies and motorists fought to move forward through the West End.

So as I approached half way home I therefore greatly appreciated the peace and perfectly timed sunshine that greeted me in Hyde Park. I had settled into quite a decent bum-wiggling pace and wasn't at all tempted to join this queue for the 148 bus.

I am sure that it won't last, but I still count myself lucky that I can include a walk, run or cycle through Hyde Park into my daily commute. A year ago I was commuting west out of London and there is no way you can compare chugging along the M4 corridor to strolling past the Serpentine.

Admittedly by the time I emerged from Hyde Park into Notting Hill where it seemed people had abandoned queuing for drinking and eating, my legs and feet were starting to hurt but as I always do when running this route, I chanted to myself that it was all downhill from here and indeed it was.

After one hour and 47 minutes (or two Jill Scott albums and one DJ Marky podcast) I was sat on my sofa and inspecting my walking injury, a vicious toe blister!

I am confident that very few people got home that day feeling like they'd experienced a silver lining to the cloud that was the tube strikes, but I did and have decided to take this long walk more often (but maybe with some trusty Elastoplast and my oyster card in my pocket, just in case).

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