11 September 2006

Tights, trains and tension

Last night, I suddenly realised that today is 11 September. And I was off to London first thing in the morning. I got very twitchy at the thought of bombs possibly going off in the capital on the 5th anniversary of the WTC being attacked. I set off just after dawn, promising the beloved P that I wouldn't use public transport today, only cabs.

As I had a meeting in the City with a potential client, I had to look the part despite London being predicted to enjoy 30C. That meant a skirt and tights. I hadn't even got on the train at Chester before the tights had a large and very visible hole just above the knee. Damn - brand new and £7. I resolved to buy a new pair and change them in the cab on the way to my first meeting.

Alas, on my arrival in London the queue for cabs was about 200 people long. Blast - there I was with a brand new pair of £8 tights I'd just bought in a shop at Euston and no chance of getting changed. I had to brave the tube if I was going to get to my meeting on my time. There were cops everywhere with guns and the Northern Line was an inferno. I arrived in the City 10 minutes late and still with a visible hole in my tights. I was edgy as hell on the tube, checking out all the passengers, but clearly I am still alive.

An hour later, I emerged from meeting No. 1 with a lucrative copywriting job more or less in the bag. I hailed a cab and headed off to Covent Garden for meeting no. 2. I was early so I ordered coffee and nipped into the ladies to change the laddered tights. Managed to put my fist through the top of them while pulling them up - not even on for 10 seconds and I'd already wrecked them. At least the new hole wasn't visible. Meeting no. 2 went very well - I have bagged a nice journalism job on a quarterly magazine as contributing editor.

With time to spare before my last meeting, I wandered round the shops in Covent Garden for half an hour before finding the designated pub. Spent a very pleasant 90 minutes catching up with a very old journalist pal (in the sense of a very old friendship, my pal isn't that old!). We talked about the intervening years and some mutual friends who have died young, far too young.

Finally, it was time to head home. Cab again, couldn't face the tube. Arrived back at Euston, sat down in my seat and ripped hole no. 3 in tights no. 2. And people wonder why I usually wear jeans...

I got as far as Crewe - one last stretch and I'd be home. Except that there was a 15 minute delay as they had to put a new engine on the train and it was still in bloody Stafford. Fifteen minutes turned into 40 and I finally came home to my beloved P far later than expected only to find the new cleaner has quit because I asked her last week not to dry the saucepans with the hand towel and not to interrupt me while I'm working. Sheesh! If I wasn't working I'd be doing the cleaning myself and she wouldn't have had a job at all. You can't get the staff these days.

And I had 68 emails waiting in my inbox. I haven't seen the news all day and I'm dog tired.

Tomorrow's meeting with another client has been cancelled. Oh well, it'll give me time to catch up on the cleaning and editing the book...


Anonymous said...

Greetings from another freelancer, based where your train was stuck! I've heard that story too many times - it seems Stafford always features, too.

The tights rang a few bells.

Unknown said...

Doesn't anyone make decent tights any more? I went through 15 quids' worth yesterday and still managed to look I'd been pulled through a hedge backwards! Maybe I should buy a Tesco multipack for £2 as it would make no difference to my appearance and I'd save lots of dosh.

I forgot to mention that the air-con on the train was knackered too - a 3-hour journey drenched iin sweat, in ripped tights!