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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Meeting Neil n Geoff

A night on the Tubes

Well I finally got to meet the intrepid
Tube Challengers Geoff n Neil and fortunately they didn't insist that I give them the quickest route from Richmond to the Barbican, or even insist that I leg it up and down escalators and work out the best carriage to get on to be nearest the exit for Waterloo when we travelled home.

We met (sadly, at my suggestion) at The Head of Steam pub at Euston and I think they were slightly disappointed that I wasn't quite as Tube geeky as suggesting this railway themed pub would appear. I was a bit worried that the pub would be full of trainspotters but at 7pm it was full of the usual commuter types having a last bevvy before going home.

By the time we left though there was only one other woman in the pub besides me and the remaining men did have strange trainspottery looks about them. There was an old bearded guy at the bar wearing a Circle Line Pub Crawl T shirt and we were accosted by a man on his way to the toilets who enigmatically said "I know what you're doing" then disappeared into the bowels of the pub.

Although he didn't look remotely like Mystic Meg on the way back from the loo it appeared he wasn't as mad or as drunk as he at first appeared.

Anyway, Geoff n Neil were a good laugh. Geoff can talk for England and Neil has one of those encyclopediac type memories and would be perfect to have on your team in a pub quiz. Yeah, of course we talked about the Tube Challenge and blogs and stations and fairly geeky stuff. But there was also chats about chavs and The Standard and relationships and Big Brother and wife beaters (or bottles of Stella). I also got to show off my credits and pictures in Mecca's book One Stop Short of Barking (which you can actually get from Amazon now).

Back to the mysterious Mystic Meg bloke, who Geoff n Neil did a good job of ignoring first of all, but when he came back from the loo he said "You're planning that Tube Challenge you are". Actually Mystic Meg wouldn't really need to be worried about her day job as the table had a fair amount of Tube maps on it it and Neil had been doodling on bit of paper doing flow diagrams on the Circle Line.

But more weirdly this guy had actually done the challenge himself 30 years ago. He didn't really look old enough to have done it thirty years ago, but he had, just for fun. So there I was in the middle of a reasonably animated discussion about whether it was easier to do it thirty years ago than today (more stations now, but the Tube website helps with journey planning). Geoff and the guy swapped email addresses and I'm sure we'll hear more from him.

When we left we all wistfully wondered whether in thirty years time we'd be sitting in a pub bumping into people who were planning a Tube challenge in 2034. Wonder if they'd manage it any faster?


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