Friday, 23 January 2009

Ankle Boots and Chewing Gum at York City Station - and London!

I was very pleased with myself for wearing my posh ankle boots to go to London in yesterday. That's why I photographed them at the station, while waiting for my train. Look how the chewing gum splodges on the station floor match the pattern on my skirt. I didn't notice that when I took the picture, but it's actually quite cool.

Ruby Senior was doubtful about my choice of footwear for London. The boots have a heel, and I don't do heels, as a rule. She was also alarmed by the fact that I was still trying to zip the boots up when she took me to the station in the car. I had to push the passenger seat back to the max, rest my feet on the front dashboard, then give each zip an almighty prolonged tug to get
them up.
"It's not like you'll just be able to slip them off if they're uncomfortable."
"I'll be fine!"
London is crazy, and big. My feet were fine. To begin with. I was a bit teetery with the heels when getting on and off trains, but it was all going well, until I stood up after being seated during the meeting ... and felt like I was standing on knives.
I hobbled out in the direction of the tube station, with the gait of an old lady. I should have been brandishing my umbrella at the crowds, saying; "London is for the young! Make way! I need to get home!" I passed a couple of shoe shops, and cursed myself for not buying a sensible flat pair instead of the ones I was wearing. Then I saw the entrance to Marble Arch tube, which involved stairs, so I hobbled on along Oxford Street instead. I would get a bus! But none of the buses were going in the direction I needed.
In my semi-incapacitated state, I was also a sitting target for the army of distributors of a free newspaper called London Lite. Avoiding eye contact was useless. It was thrust in my face at regular intervals along Oxford Street, but a loud, assertive "No thank you" seemed to make it disappear again.
Then suddenly, I needed to sit down. Immediately. But there was no-where. So I staggered across Oxford Street, and got on a bus to take me back in the direction I'd just come from. I didn't know what to do with my London travel card on bus - whether it needed swiping or what - so I held it up cheerily at the driver who glowered at me and growled "Just get on." Charming. Then I found all the seats in the bus were taken. Aaargh, I couldn't even sit down in here!
Trying to distract myself from the knife like pain in my feet, I stared through the bus window, and found myself looking at an irate fireman in a fire engine whose siren was blaring. He was yelling and gesticulating and trying to move the engine. My mind blotted out these superfluous facts, as I am rather partial to men in unform, especially where rescue scenarios are involved.
A daydream was imminent. Help me, handsome fireman! I am stuck on the top of a tall pair of shoes, with knives in my feet. Carry me to safety, and away from this godforsaken metropolis, back to my home town!
The fireman turned and looked at me. Eek, had I been thinking out loud?
Then I saw him mouth: "Tell the driver to move the bus." He probably wasn't talking to me. I looked away. Then I looked back at him. His face was angrier now and there was no mistaking his nasty glare was directed straight at me. "TELL the driver to MOVE THE F*ING BUS and TELL HIM NOW!"
Aaargh, what a nasty fireman! His scary order propelled me straight down the bus on my painful feet and I stood in front of the driver's cab. The driver turned and glowered at me. Up until this moment I think I had been considering yelling the words "Move the f*ing bus!" but one look at his face told me this was a very bad idea. What I actually said, was "Excuse me. The fireman driving the fire engine has told me I have to ask you to move the bus." The bus driver looked at me with a reptilian grin, indicated the gridlocked traffic around the bus and said. "Ask him, 'Where to?'"
I decided that I wouldn't bother.
Opposite Marble Arch tube, I flopped out of the bus and onto a low sill outside a shop. I let out a scream of relief as I took the weight off my feet. Within seconds, a London Lite newspaper was in my face
"Have a paper, please darling."
"No thank you."
"Why not? It's free."
"I don't want it."
"Please, have a paper."
"No thank you."
"Take a paper."
"No."
"Take it."
"No."
"Why you don't want take it? I am just doing my job."
"If I took a paper from everyone who offered me one, do you know how many I'd be carrying by now? About six."
"Sick? You are sick?"
"NO, I said six"
"Take a paper."
"I don't want one. PISS OFF!"
"OK darling, have a nice day."
Yes, I thought, I will have a nice day. So I went in the shoe shop next to Marble Arch tube, and bought a pair of padded slip-ons, a size too big, because my feet were too swollen for anything else. Wearing them was bliss, and probably the highlight of the day.
Ee, it's grand to be back in York.

13 comments:

Olivier said...

tu etais sur une balançoire pour prendre cette photo ;o)

Ruby said...

On dirait que oui, mais c'etait un banc a la gare!

jro said...

How do you get cedilles in this blog? My normal method doesn't work. Anyway, cela m'a fait rire!

I covet those boots, knives or not.

Hyde DP said...

I told you it would be grand to get back to York - hope your feet are feeling better now.

Jackie said...

That's hilarious. Every so often I have a minute-long "I miss London" phase, but this is exactly the sort of thing I don't miss at all! Absolutely everything is just all so fraught, isn't it?!

lunarossa said...

Dear Ruby, reading your entry I experienced a deja vu. I'd have so many stories to tell you about my feet/shoes with heels and being in London! So I can exactly imagine how you must have been feeling and it was bad! Just imagine that once I went to London to interview quite a famous person (I used to be a freelance writer in another life!) and I ended up to be carried (literally carried like Debra Winger in An Officer and A Gentleman) back to my train by the same (lovely) person I had just interview as I was absolutely in agony and I was not able to walk anymore. Another time that I did not have a Prince Charming handy I did like you did and went to Clarks to get a pair of "granny" slippers. Absolurely love your beautiful ankle boots though! Ciao. Antonella

Gail's Man said...

Shame you didn't have a good time in London. True, the people there aren't very friendly, but it's the nature of London. A very transient society. I grew up in London between 1969 & 1977. I wish I was older then, rather than just being a youngster, as I think I missed out on a lot. But I remember the Biba shop & I went to school with Ingrid Pitt's daughter and also saw the old Charlie perfume ad being shot, so I didn't do too badly.

Ashtonian said...

That's an incredibly beautifull story. I'm glad your feet are rested.

Ruby said...

Jane, I have no idea how to get any accents and write in French without them, even though it looks a bit awful!!

Gerald, I know you were right and was thinking of your predicition as I typed my last line of this post!

Antonella - I'm glad I'm not the only one who's had to buy different shoes - I felt like a bit of a berk, but it probably happens to people a lot!

Gail's Man - didn't know you'd lived in London. I lived and worked there between 94 and 97 but we were broke so I couldn't enjoy it to its full extent - though I did enjoy my job while I was there.

Cheers all, as always for your comments :-)

Anonymous said...

moral of the story.....

mother knows best!!

Picklesmum said...

None of that would have happened if you had been wearing your trusty Crocs.

Paul - leeds daily photo said...

Nice boots!
I have not been to London in many years, I used to live there off and on in my teens and twenties though.
I like the style of your blog, I must try to be more experimental or was that mental on mine.

ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

ROFL - and the best thing is ... you'll be doing it again in a couple of weeks LOL :-D xxx