MIND THE GAP
When I was pregnant with my son (my only child, if you don’t count three ex-husbands) my local health authority in a leafy part of London withdrew all but essential midwifery services because they were re-training the midwives in aromatherapy, acupuncture and other lovely relaxing things beginning with ‘a’. Never mind alternative therapy, I called up to inquire about alternative provision for ante-natal classes, to be told by a cheerful soul on the end of the phone that there wasn’t any, but wasn’t it fantastic that they would be able to offer so many additional services next year? Indeed, it was wonderful, I said. I’ll try and keep my legs crossed for the next 12 months, then.
So it was that these ‘improvements’ meant that I, along with other women similarly expectant, had to figure out for ourselves how best to get through the excruciating pain of a long labour by utilizing our partners, in conjunction with the correct breathing. Whatever that is.
(For anyone interested, I recommend Look at what [BREATHE] you’ve done to me [BREATHE] you bastard!!! [SCREAM]).
Last Sunday (it’s OK, you can come out now, he’s 19 years old at this point) I had occasion to venture into the centre of London (luckily, my balaclava was back from the cleaners). There was a choice of several routes I could take, and – in the grand tradition of selecting a queue in a bank or a supermarket – it transpired that I naturally plumped for the worst one. (There is something to be said for consistency, don’t you think?)
I had actually checked on the net before I left my apartment, and saw that one part of the District Line on London’s tube network was suspended for engineering work – at which point I congratulated myself on having the foresight to be impressively organized – so consequently made plans to divert my route with my smug knowledge.
What the net didn’t inform me, though, was that 6 other lines were also disrupted thanks to ‘engineering work’. (If the engineers are so bloody good, why don’t the trains run on Sundays???) It duly took me two hours to traverse 8 miles from SW London to NW London.
Twenty minutes of this two hours (can’t exactly call it ‘travelling’ time) was spent sitting in a tunnel, thanks to a signal failure. During which period I found myself gazing at a sign underneath a map of the system (what’s the point of that, then?) which informed me Improvement works may affect your journey.
While we’re at it, another bone I have to pick with London Underground PLC is the discrimination against non-dog owners. Never noticed the signs at the top and bottom of escalators stating Dogs must be carried??? Fortunately for me, I have a dog. (Nothing to say they can’t be stuffed). Phew.
Meanwhile, back at my tale of woe, when I – eventually – arrived at my destination, the rain had started with avengance (wish it didn’t have such a grudge against me personally), but the designated meeting place looked lovely from the outside. Didn’t get to see it from the inside, however, because it wasn’t open. Due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. (No, it wasn’t a meeting of psychics. I’ll do the jokes, thank you very much).
People get days like that. Only I seem to get lifetimes like it.
I once went to Wales, only to discover it was closed. (Sorry Welsh people. I’m a comedian. But you have to admit…oh, never mind).
Anyway, it’s a jolly good job the Olympics aren’t coming any time soon, isn’t it?