I’ve always been a bit
odd individual, and times are hard at the criminal bar. Some people dream of foreign climes, a country getaway or a bustling city break for their annual jolly. I went for a slight twist on the classic adventure – a day out on the East London line.
That this should be a matter of excitement to me needs a bit of explanation. In short, I moved to London after university in 1999 to do a couple of law courses to get me where I am today.
After a few years, I was sitting on a tube trundling off to Highgate to go to an afternoons hearing in the Magistrates’ Court there, and was letting my eyes wander over the tube map, when it hit me. I’d never been on the East London line. At that time it wasn’t that surprising. It was little more than a short shuttle service from Shoreditch to New Cross and New Cross Gate. I didn’t live near there and had no real reason to go.
But I thought to myself, rather than waste my first time on the East London line with some frivolous connection to knock off a few minutes from a journey, or an impulsive trip, why not bank it and save it up for a special treat (a perhaps frightening insight to the way my mind works)? Treating it as a special occasion would make it almost like a holiday, I would come away refreshed and happy. I have explained this to many people over the years and I’m not sure that anyone has ever quite seen it my way …
Fast forward eight years and its still there, in the bank, waiting to be used. But, it’s coming to the crunch point. The East London Line extension has turned it from a quaint scratch on the east London landscape to a vital artery running from Highbury to Croydon and Clapham Junction. And now I’m living in Whitechapel, right in the heart of it.
Being an ELL refusenik would no longer mark me out as a harmless eccentric, but would harm my everyday LU experience in getting from A to B in the most efficient time. Last bank holiday I was on my own and at a loose end, and so it was time to take the plunge.
It was a good day out and, in a (probably psychosomatic way), quite refreshing. I actually felt like I was off on a holiday (obviously not quite – there’s only so much enjoyment you can get exploring the streets of Croydon and Highbury). The only down side is the insistence of the power that the East London Line is part of the Overground network, when it clearly is, and has always been, and always will be, on the Underground. Anyway, that aside, I like the idea of a ‘micro break’ holiday (not sure if I’ve just coined a new word) and am on the lookout for more, if anyone’s got any ideas …