The London Tube strike.
Here's the latest from our Highly Placed Professional:
There’s something slightly delightful about breaking the old routine, taking a risk and facing uncertainty.
It may be a fanciful notion, but I was sure I could feel a collective determination to beat the strikers during Wednesday’s commute. Or was the gimlet-eyed resolve of my fellow Tubers nothing more than the reflected exasperation of having to endure another journey all over again - after the storms, delays and general mayhem of January ?
I arrived beady eyed and optimistic at Earls Court station at 6.30 a.m. There was a small crowd of silent travellers waiting outside the locked gates, and a helpful sign informing us that the new opening time was 7.00am - with a limited service on the Menu du Jour.
I groaned as I remembered the gruff advice from one of the station staff the evening before to 'Check the internet, guv'. The mood was nevertheless polite and cheerful - until we were herded onto the platform and watched bleakly as a succession of trains stopped and departed, never bothering to open their doors.
When we finally boarded, our driver was a lesson in studied hilarity - as the train flew past a never-ending stream of closed stations, he announced: ‘Sorry for the delay folks, tehe. But the stations are all closed so I can’t let you orf! So I guess it’s not technically a delay after all! Tehe'. What a joker!
The photo that went the rounds of a station counter worker asleep at his post, slumped gratefully in his seat on Tuesday evening, only served to rub in the sense of resentment - it’s no wonder it went viral.
I also received a picture of an official Tube Service Information board from a colleague - someone had rubbed out the message and replaced it in bold black felt tip with this more apposite message: announcement: 'WE ARE ON STRIKE. Have fun getting to work we don’t give a s..t if we have ruined your day or lost you money!! Because…. WE DESERVE MORE'. Maybe they do, and maybe we sneakily sympathise - but we truly hate the hassle.
image: © Elliott Brown