6th March 2017: Day 46 - The End of the Line
As a teenager, I lived in Nigeria for 4 years. When I returned I lived with my brother and Uncle in a flat at Oval in South London. For some reason, I ended up going to a sixth form college miles away in Colindale. The Londoners among you will know that Colindale is way, way up the Northern Line on the underground, and Oval station is two thirds (or three quarters) of the way down. Whichever it is the journey was a long one, I think about 45mins. I don’t know if the newer underground trains are faster (we’re talking many, many years ago).
There was at least one benefit of having such a long journey; I could make great inroads into any book I was reading. If it was a Mills and Boon, then it would be read cover to cover in a round trip. The disadvantages were that I lived too far away to really socialise with my friends and I had to leave home earlier than I would have liked, which meant I had to get up earlier too.
I had a similar experience 15-16 years ago, commuting to North Finchley, this time to a job in a drop-in centre. I would get on the tube, and sit there reading for the 45 mins to an hour that it took me to almost get to the end of the Northern Line, (this time the High Barnet Branch). Sometimes, if I was feeling lazy, I would get off at East Finchley and take the bus up, which meant I didn’t have the ten-minute walk at the other end.
In 1993 I moved away from Oval and since then I’ve lived on train routes (Southern Trains, South Eastern, Thameslink etc.)
What I’ve never done is lived close to the end of a line, so while not central, I was always reasonably located.
I had to go to Holloway for a meeting today and rather than go to East Croydon Station I decided to take the Overground train directly to Highbury and Islington then walk up Holloway Road. It wasn’t until I was quite a way on the train that I realised I was travelling from one end of the line (West Croydon) to the other (Highbury and Islington), travelling eastwards from extreme South London to North London. I had intended to do something like this as part of Everyday for 50 Days, I mean travel from one end of a tube line to the next and to be honest I resisted because I thought it would be very time consuming. And then there it was, the accidental opportunity.
It was an interesting journey. I discovered a few things I didn’t know. For instance:
· New Cross Station and New Cross Gate Station are on different unconnected branches of the line.
· You can get from Croydon to Shoreditch or Dalston
· There were at least 2 journeys I made in the last week that would have been a lot quicker had I used this train
· There’s a station in London (east) called Haggerston
In addition, I learned something new about London and getting about in London. And, of course, I was able to really get into my book. All of this and the journey is only 50 minutes.
I know I could have taken a train from East Croydon to Victoria and then the tube up to Highbury and Islington and I’m sure it would have been a little shorter but it was nice to just be on the train and not worry about stops - I just get off when the train stops moving.
And that’s what this project has been about; taking myself out of my comfort zone, trying something different and looking for something in the experience that I can take away with me.
4 more days to go.