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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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on the London Underground.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Lost Property

Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I have a huge amount on my mind right now and am getting a bit distracted. So much so that this week I have left two (count them, two) umbrellas on the tube and trains (and it's only Thursday). This led me to think about the lost property office and some of the weird things that have been left on the tube. WARNING - Sad trainspotter fact alert - every year over 130,000 items are left on tubes, buses, trains and taxis in London and each year 60,000 people actually get their stuff back. It's nice to know that umbrellas are most often left behind.

Some of the weirder unclaimed items that haven't made it back to their owners are: a wedding dress, a lawyer�s gown, a 40-pound, four-foot exercise machine, a kitchen sink, and two urns. This is almost so sad it has to be true. Would the
Reader's Digest, from where this info was sourced, lie?

TUBE HAIKU's - The Next Generation

The marvellous Meg from notsosoft.com (inspired me to start blogging and that blog was so brilliantly written and diverting it's not true) has a new blog - meish.org and noticed my tube haiku campaign and pointed out that her and some other friends had already started writing Tube Haikus in July 2000 (almost ancient history in blog terms). There's some crackers amongst them and I've reproduced a few seasonal ones for your enjoyment.

bastards wearing sandals. Smell
of foot sweat. I faint.

Armpit in my face
Please take your hand off my arse:
Tube space invaders

Too many people
And all are sweaty morons -
Tomorrow, the bus

Bodies hunt for space
And armpits smell so evil
I'm going to kill

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 31, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Went out to visit a friend tonight and did almost my usual journey back from work but had to change lines a bit earlier than normal. It's terrible how much on auto pilot I was, as even though I was standing uncomfortably and hot in a crush on the tube, (rather than reading a book in relative comfort) I virtually let the stop sail past me and then had to quickly force my way through people dozily to get off at the stop at the right time.

As I got off at South Ken, one of those station announcers was there with his little baton, that looks like a table tennis bat, waving the train on and he'd drawn a little smiley face on his baton. Except it was a downturned smiley face. I wonder if this was to signify the heat on the tube, or whether his smiley faces are always downturned because of where he works.

My artist's impression of the scene

Don't you just love photoshop, even I can do a good artist's impression!

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 31, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

This blog's a Guardian Top Blog

Hoorah, thanks to the people at
The Guardian newspaper's website for choosing my blog as their "top blog" today. They said
Going Underground's blog
Blog pick: Notwithstanding Guardian Unlimited weblog's non-London-centric stance, this blog on the delights of travelling on the London Underground is well worth a visit. Scroll down for the picture of the Japanese subway sign instructing men not to sit with their legs splayed.

Kewell - so if you've come here from there, so to speak, please read on.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 29, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Normal Londoner suspicion alert

This poor man asked me the time when coming down the escalator today. So I told him. He then started saying how hot it was. Yes I agreed. Mmm he thinks, she's talking to me. "It reminds me of my home town" Now I could simply ignore him as he was a bit smelly and had that sad, lonely, 'I want to make friends with complete strangers' air about him. So rather than being rude or mad enough to reply "Oh really, where's your home town?" I simply nodded with a non eye contact movement, trying to say "Go away I'm really not interested in talking to you and you smell and you're getting a bit too familiar matey back off". When we got off the bottom of the escalator he held back a bit as though he was going to walk with me. So I held back too and fortunately we were getting on different trains.

Now any non Londoner reading this will be thinking, "You sad cow he was only trying to make conversation, he wasn't an axe murderer". Any Londoner would be thinking - "Good move love, he was probably only after your purse or he might have talked loudly to you on the tube and stalked you all the way home".

Would you strike up a conversation with this man below?

The art of non conversation on the tube

Of course not - check out the full story and thanks to DC in the comments for reminding me.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 29, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 25, 2003

Northern Line Sucks

Why is it that whenever I get the Northern Line (which thankfully is rarely) and I think it's going to Morden or Totteridge and Whetstone or wherever and it always seems to stop at Finchley or somewhere tantalisingly three or four stops from wherever I need. Do people who live at the end of this line, know that they will never get an uninterrupted journey to their home? Is it like the District Line which certainly runs more trains to Ealing Broadway than Richmond, whatever the deluded people at London Underground or deluded friends of mine who live in Ealing think?

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 25, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 24, 2003

More London Underground Tube Haikus

Crikey what a response to yesterday's entry. I knew we would give Metro newspaper a run for their money.
Jag has come up with some crackers and my favourites of his are below:

When you feel unwell
Leave train at the next station
Curl up on platform

Hammersmith station
Grey pigeons on vacation
From every nation

Check out Jag's picture of a pigeon on the tube or my page on Pigeon Commuters for more of this.

Go to Hell and back.
Via Bank. But don't get off there!
Morden is grimmer.

Stanmore: 5 mins says
dot matrix indicator.
5 mins later: Same.

And an excellent contender from Kuad:

Let people out first
Not "charge through the doors first thing"!
Die, you bastards, die.

I think that's influenced by our cheerful drivers' announcements on the tube.

Keep them coming in through the comments link and I'll post more of Jag's up later to illustrate common tube experiences.

In case anyone is interested, here's the Metro one that started off the whole thing:

Ah, the train-sleeper
He dreams on in half light
that carried him in

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 24, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground Haiku's

Metro newspaper was all excited for the last month or so as they'd asked for haikus about the tube and they got one about someone falling asleep, then someone followed it up and then they asked people to follow on and got about eight haikus on the same theme (considering how many hundreds of thousands of people read Metro each day, that's a pretty poor show).

So I thought surely we can do better and I want to try to collect (shouting Sun newspaper style) THE DEFINITIVE London Underground haiku list. So to remind us all about haiku's they are a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. I also quite like this quote about them:

"The importance of the poet's first impression, just as it was, of subjects taken from daily life, and of local colour to create freshness. Some of the most thrilling Haiku-poems describe daily situations in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience of a well-known situation." Which sort of sums up what blogs are about really - if you (sometimes) take off the poetic element.

I'm sure this will drive me mad and I'm not promising a haiku everyday, but now that the comments box is up and running, perhaps visitors to this blog could offer/write some too.

So here's my first:

A quick fix for air
In this tunnel of hot breath
Is sought by Mayor Ken

Easy, peasy! Fits the form, is
topical and not bad for a first shot.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 24, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Semi Nutter

I feel really bad saying this about the guy, but I'll say it anyway, but I was sitting next to a man talking to himself on the tube today. Fortunately he didn't turn out to be a real nutter, cos he moved from talking to himself, to singing (not that loudly thank God), to whistling under his breath, to complete silence like the rest of the carriage. That was a great relief. My worst experience of the tube loon to date has been a man talking to me quite sensibly at first, then really going off in a major rant how everyone on the carriage was racist and how we should all stick together and doing that "You looking at me" Robert DeNiro mad shout at anyone who glanced in his direction. I had to move carriages after two stops of this as I was getting just a tad scared.


Today I added a comments tool to the blog, so if you want to comment or get on your soap box about any post feel free.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 22, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 21, 2003


Any of you living in Suffolk listening to
BBC Radio Suffolk may hopefully have heard my dulcet tones today at 3.45 when I had a five minute interview with Rachel Sloane as Going Underground is their website of the day.

Stupidly, I had originally forgot to ask them to record it advance - the BBC don't store recordings, so I thought yet again I've not got a recording, but help was at hand. My first radio interview was with BBC Radio London - slightly larger audience I'd imagine - where I was walking around with a journalist on the tube and commenting as we struggled with the rush hour at Victoria station. Ironically we had to wait quite a while till they closed the gates to get on the tube (something they do everyday to prevent platforms being overcrowded) but that was very strange talking into a big microphone on a crowded carriage and trying to get other passenger to join in.

Today's interview was much more relaxing - on my mobile phone sitting in the corridor outside my office. I was delighted to find out that Nik Fox (who bought us the audio london underground driver's announcements in yesterday's entry) had driven to a high spot in London and managed to pick up Radio Suffolk and kindly recorded the interview for me - so here it is - Hoorah!!!

Very long download if you're not on broadband, so make yourself and Wembley Stadium a cup of tea or read War and Peace or something, while you're waiting.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 21, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 18, 2003


Nik Fox recorded a really funny London Underground driver who was clearly either on drugs, or delirously happy, or both. It's a classic, he talks about people getting on board the tube with ironing boards, and how every man on the carriage should stand up for any Mum as it's Mother's Day tomorrow.

You can hear the driver here

Cheers Nik.


To anyone living in Suffolk I'm going to be interviewed on BBC Radio Suffolk on Monday at 15.45 when www.goingunderground.net will (hopefully) be their website of the day. I hope the interviewer is someone like Alan Partridge from Radio Norwich (slapped wrist.....stop being such a city chick).

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 18, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Was sitting opposite a woman with the strangest piece of jewellery on today. It was a ring that was attached to her bracelet by a small chain on the outside of her hand. Quite pretty items separately, but together most bizarre.

Those Highland Spring girls were out in full force today, handing out bottles of free water at the Piccadilly Circus exit. If you're not in London - let's have a quick weather check - hmmmm - it's cold, I've got a cardigan on, it's grey and drizzling. A few hot days in London and the city goes mad and Ken does his "let's get a reward for air conditioning on the tube as it's soooooo hot", and then the weather turns pants.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 18, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 17, 2003

air conditioning on the tube and the reward has struck a chord (despite the fact it's currently wet, grey and miserable and not particularly warm in London). Several hits to this blog as a result of people searching and in today's Metro a very good letter response to Mayor Ken Livingstone's reward:

"I gather than Ken Livingstone has offered a reward of �100,000 to the person who invents a successful air conditioning system for the Underground. As one of the unfortunate cattle-class who has to battle through these radiator pipes every day, here's my idea: more trains, fewer people per train. This will mean fewer people standing on baking platforms and less Tube rage. And less time spent meditating in someone else's armpit. So do I get the �100,000?"
Lucy Johnston from London WC1

This slightly echoes my earlier posting, if the tube were doing their job properly in the first place Sheriff Ken, shouldn't have to be offering "rewards" for something that someone in the last hundred years of tube travel should have worked out by now.

The BBC have also got people to come up with some excellent suggestions as to how the tube should be cooled down - some complete with images:

Cooling down the London Underground

* Replace those tired old tracks and trains with canals and gondolas. The cool water and slow pace of travel will make it much more pleasant.

* Equip all passengers with personal breathing apparatus and flood the tunnels using water from ye mighty Thames.

* Using cooling colours like deep blues and whites would create the impression of cool. Painting the walls and installing drinking fountains would help.

* Providing all passengers with free ice lollies.

* Getting a frozen pea company to sponsor the tubes with giant packs of frozen peas stuck to the outside of trains.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 17, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

New Scientist magazine discovers GoingUnderground.net

First Capital Radio, then FHM, then Bizarre magazine, and now
The New Scientist (19th July issue) have discovered the joys of the drivers announcements recorded on my main site.

FEEDBACK recently came across the Going Underground website - the "fun London Underground guide" at www.going-underground.com. As we regularly travel on the tube, we particularly enjoyed the page of quotes from tube drivers and station announcers.

They then go on to quote their favourites, one of which is the one that started the whole thing off that I heard at Earl's Court and I really don't think is that funny anymore:

"there are times when passengers must wonder if they are in entirely in safe hands. At Earl's Court, the station PA declared: "The train at platform three is not going to Parsons Green but to Richmond. The train approaching platform two is also not going to Parsons Green but to Ealing Broadway. These trains are not going to Parsons Green despite what the signalmen think."

Anyway there are loads more, so enjoy.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 16, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

29 degrees on the tube and hotter than transporting cattle screamed the headline on the Evening Standard who were bursting with tube news today. It's the day the Americans take over the tube in the shape of Bob Kiley and
Tim O'Toole - the new bloke who's taking over from Paul Godier.

Well I didn't notice any difference on day one. I was lucky as I mentioned yesterday to travel to somewhere near the North Pole this morning (Whetstone and Totteridge or Totteridge and Whetstone), which is so far North of where I live it is not true. I used the Silverlink for most of the journey and it all started to go wrong (surprise, surprise) when I boarded the northern Line. The train wasn't going to the end of the earth like it had displayed but stopped unexpectedly about four stops from Totterstone and Whetbridge. So I got off met my colleague who unbeknown to me was on the same train - and we waited about ten minutes for the train to arrive.

Going back into Piccadilly Circus took close on an hour, but it was lunchtime and fortunately the train was not packed and also fortunately it stopped for great lengths of time with it's doors open at stations. This wasn't a form of air conditioning or great kindness on the part of the drivers but simply normal Northern Line rubbish service.

(BLIMEY Ken Livingstone is offering a reward of �100,000 to anyone who can air condition the tube - a reward mate, they ought to get a knighthood. But also Ken, isn't this simply part of London Underground's job. Over 100 years of the tube and it's still not air conditioned. Hello, but hasn't someone thought this was a problem in the past thousands and thousands of times and shouldn't people being paid to invent something rather than turning it into a Lottery style fiasco or prize draw dumbing down milarky)

I thank my lucky stars that I do not have to do a journey like that Totteridge and Whetstone to ....anyhere, every day. It makes my Kew to Piccadilly journey seem like a walk in the park - but a park that's full of people with luggage, rucksacks, discarded copies of Metro and blokes sitting on benches with their legs wide apart.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 16, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 14, 2003

Possibly the hottest day of the year today and had the pleasure of going down the Piccadilly Circus escalator behind a man who had a perfectly shaped rucksack sweat "mark"/transfer, not sure what to call it, on his back. Eewww - it was foul. Which sort of ties in with my mood today.

Oh well, tomorrow I face the delights of an morning meeting on the penultimate stop of the Nothern Line which will probably take me half a day to reach from Kew. What fun.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 14, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 11, 2003

At the bottom of the Piccadilly Line exit's escalator at Piccadilly Circus, saw a man very kindly giving instructions to a oriental looking tourist. It involved much arm waving and pointing at maps. I'm not sure how great the oriental man's English was hence the "air traffic controller" style arm movements.

I often have to give people directions when I arrive at or leave Kew Gardens station as it's a major tourist attraction. I feel that I ought to get some money off my poll tax for this public service. I certainly don't subscribe to the rather weird "Urban Interventions" seen in the delightfully diverting "
Smoke" - a London peculiar magazine:

Urban Intervention No.5
When a tourist next asks you for direction insist on personally taking them to their destination, even if this involves catching a bus or taking the Tube

Urban Intervention No.6
If you are asked for directions and are unable to help, conisder recommending an alternative destination that you would find equally interesting

Many thanks to Diamond Geezer by the way for bringing Smoke to my attention.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 11, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Got rather trashed last night and had to put the auto tube pilot into gear. Got on at Leicester Square at about five to minight, then fell asleep. Did my auto wake up at Turnham Green and amazingly the next District Line was going to Richmond. I've lost count of the times I have sat at Turnham Green late at night, wanting to get home, normally wanting to go to sleep or go the loo, and loads and loads of Ealing Broadway trains have come along. (I'm sure anyone living in Ealing reading this will think I'm mad and will say there are more Richmond bound ones......they are WRONG)

Fell asleep again and luckily the auto pilot kicked in again at Kew Gardens where I fell out.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 10, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 07, 2003

So glad that Wimbledon is over as it was playing havoc with the soap TV schedules. Not glad to see that Ariel washing powder who seem to sponsor Tim Henman's whites, have taken it upon their heads to sponsor whole District Line carriages with their ads above people's heads. This is a tad montonous and when you look at them you think; "Mmm yes, we see" I wonder how long they'll be up in the carriages, as the bright green is playing havoc with my eye sight.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 07, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 04, 2003

Helping my friend do research for her
book at the moment and a becoming obsessed with watching men on the tube sitting with their legs wide apart. If someone can please tell me why you do this? Is it genetic. The Cartoonist sent me this excellent sticker from the Japanese subway where men are simply told not to do it.

I love the Japanese

And a couple of days ago Metro had the following cartoon.

no comment

So guys it's not big or clever (well it is big I spose), but it makes you look really sad.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 04, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Hideous morning - got to Hammersmith where I normally change onto the Piccadilly Line to find it was about four people deep in folks waiting to get onto the VERY delayed Piccadilly Line. So I thinks it's best to stay put and take the District Line train that I was on - which constantly stops between stops - Embankment and change there onto the Bakerloo.....sorry YAWN, YAWN...boring travel story alert. STOP.

What was annoying about this was that it illustrates that tube sods law in that when you are delayed you will always make the wrong decision. I'm absolutely positive I'd have got into work faster had I waited for about four full Piccalilly Line trains to pass rather than to have got the Fish and Parcels Line (do not ask - I have no idea why the District Line is nicknamed the Fish and Parcels Line - particularly as I seem to be the only person I know who knows this).

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 01, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE