It’s been just over a month since I last visited the capital, with today’s adventure taking me across to my first choice University. Of course, instead of the daunting thoughts of travelling across the city alone, I was more anxious about my travel down from Birmingham. I switched the news channel off last night after seeing a yellow weather warning for snow, and predicted heavy rain and winds. Arguably not the best weather for travelling. I woke in the early hours of this morning, taking a spoonful of Corn Flakes with one hand, while the other was reading through travel updates on my phone. Everything seemed to be okay at that time, but there was still enough time for something to go wrong.
Finally, there was light outside and a thin coating of snow lay on the grass in my garden. The pond has frozen over, and a couple of puddles out in the road had turned to ice. My train was due to leave a couple of minutes before eight, so I arrived in plenty of time to get a good position along the platform, as you do. Except I had my copy of the METRO folded in my hand, out in the open to the wind. The snow was still coming down, but the wind pushed the snow out away from me until the wind suddenly switched, coating everybody on the platform in the cold flakes. The train arrived into a station of snow men a few minutes late, my newspaper soaked through, left on the bench behind me as I clambered my way onto a seat towards the front. My jacket went onto the overhead shelf with my scarf and gloves, while I sat down with my compulsory packet of fruit pastilles and notes for University. I began writing down questions to ask, ready for my arrival into London.
Once I reached Marylebone, I scurried down onto the underground platforms with a large swarm of people. The doors excitedly opened and the tube filled with another burst of life. I had one stop to Baker Street, where I would make a change of line. Old brickwork marked my next platform, a sense of originality and inspiration swamped my head. It is one of the oldest stations on the grid, and you can tell. It certainly look’s it part, but it’s got character.
Only twenty minutes and second change, I had reached my final tube station. After getting bored on the longest escalator I have ever used on the underground, I was on the surface. The first sighting of London was no famous landmark, but a corner shop and the daunting ten minute walk to the campus. Like in Birmingham, I have named a set of traffic lights ‘kill me corner’, after the sheer confusion of what the traffic is actually doing. To put the name into practice, a cyclist cut across a bus at that junction and got flipped off, hitting the pavement. It must be said that the cyclist was okay, and didn’t sustain any serious injuries, but it shows how dangerous crossings can be. Once I safely crossed, I orientated myself with the roads and found the right way to go. I had visited the University on a previous visit to London this year, so I knew where it was, what threw me out was the roadworks and the pedestrian diversion.
With ten minutes to spare, I arrived at the grand entrance to the building I will hopefully be studying inside in the next few years. It stands grand between typical Georgian-London flats and offices. I opened the door and made my way inside. I was extremely happy with the University already, knowing it was my first choice too and having received an offer, I wanted to make the best impression possible. Upon leaving soon after three o’clock, I knew I did just that. I enjoyed a few discussions with lecturers, taking on board all of the information fed to me. The atmosphere was fantastic, feeling just like home.
It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t much of a trip for sightseeing today, as when I left, it was a case of rushing back to Marylebone for my train home. No time for a bagel either, my arrival into the upper concourse of the station was kept short with a visit to the toilet and then WH Smith before boarding the train, where I then enjoyed the company of some ‘upper class’ couples. That was different, as you could expect. If you’ve not read my previous post, ‘Stop talking and start doing‘, they sounded like the best stereotype for a posh talking Briton.
There is no doubt that I will be once again returning to the capital in the next few months, hopefully with some free time to go sightseeing and to snap up some photos too!