I found myself there briefly this morning, buying gifts for some friends that I'm about to visit overseas at the weekend, and I could think of nothing more appropriate as something that I would give to someone as a present than something with a tube logo on it.
The friend I'm going to see has two daughters - aged 4 and 7. And at first I thought that it would be good to get some T-shirts emblazoned with the Underground logo. But when I looked, the only things that they had in childrens colours and sizes were t-shirts that said "Mind the Gap" on them. On a t-shirt. On the front of a t-shirt. On the upper part of the front of a t-shirt. Are you getting my drift yet?
On a mature female, this would be funny as the 'mind . . . gap' gag works rather well on a fully-breasted female, but on minors? Surely that's a bit sick, isn't it? Well I thought it was, decided against it, and went for the safer 'teddy bear' option instead.
Obviously whilst I was there I couldn't resist buying a coloured 'line' mug to complete my own personal collection, as I didn't have the orange East London line one - but don't even get me started on why they don't have any brown coloured ones for the Bakerloo line!
I leave the shop and walk to Holborn to get the Central Line to work. I sit on a seat on a platform, staring right at the big sign in front of me that clearly showed all the stations that trains called at in this direction ... Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, and so on.
A little old lady shuffles along and sits down next to me. Three minutes later as the train is pulling in, she taps me on the shoulder and says "Is this the right train for Oxford Circus?".
Now the 'Neil' inside of me wanted to say "No, you want to get the one after this", or perhaps "There's been a large map clearly in view for the last couple of minutes - why don't you look at that?", but then the nice Geoff inside me said "Yes, it is.. in two stops time!", and waved two fingers at her in a really helpful manner, and then jumped on the train ahead of her... went to sit down, and realised it was the last seat, and so stopped, turned and made her sit on it instead. See how nice I am? Neil would've gotten her changing onto a Thameslink train and ending up at Farringdon.
Speak of the devil, my partner in tube-grime is back tomorrow on this blog, and on Friday as well - no more me as I'm away as well - but I think that Annie's back at the weekend. If she asks any of you how you think we've done, please give us a glowing report and a gold star. It'd be nice to make another appearence at some point in the future.
I'm just gutted that Guinness World Records still haven't got back to us with offical confirmation of our time, otherwise I was going to use the excellent pun "Tubelation!", here to really make you groan ... but I can't, ah well.