Thursday, 4 April 2013


One of life's small (and relatively insignificant mysteries) that never fails to amaze me, is the temperature control - or lack of - on our train system.  I'm not even referring to the sweaty and suffocating depths of the London Underground, much bemoaned by London commuters, but to our overground trains.  As a relatively sensible and practical person, I try to dress for the weather - so if it's cold, I wrap up warm, and if we ever get a proper summer, I will dig out my lighter, thinner layers.  Whilst I appreciate the train company's efforts to give us a nice warm ride to work, I also expect them to realise that in cold weather, people will generally be wrapped up warm and therefore may not totally appreciate the train carriages being turned into mobile saunas.

Personally, I have a nice technique for warming myself up prior to my morning train ride, commonly known as the 'oh-crap-I'm-late' run to the station.  Those of you who fall into the 'smug-left-plenty-of-time' camp, will never truly understand how one minute, you have all the time in the world, and the next you're flying out the door, bag in hand, racing to catch the train that is due to depart in three minutes time.  If I had time to stroll to the station, casually stop for a skinny latte en route and still arrive two minutes early, I have obviously been wasting valuable time when I could have been productively loading the dishwasher or hanging out washing.

Once I've jumped onto the train seconds before the doors shut, I tend to divest myself of a layer or two, whilst trying to not to elbow any of my fellow commuters in the face.  This, I feel, should allow my body to regain a nice equilibrium with the temperature of the train carriage.  Unfortunately, all too often I get to the point where I've removed both coats, hat, gloves and scarf and I am still overheating.  Take any more clothes off and I would be subjecting unsuspecting travellers to an unacceptable amount of naked flesh.  I mean, you can get arrested for that kind of thing. 

Presuming you are not one of the unlucky people squashed up against the door, you then have the choice of trying to catch the attention of one of the long-distance commuters who have got a seat (and are generally plugged into their music player and firmly refusing to catch anyone's eye) to ask them to open a window, or suffer in silence.  Generally I opt for the latter and focus my attention on not fainting until the train gets into London Bridge and the carriages empty.  And for the pleasure of this experience, I get to pay ever increasing fares.

Of course, what I should be doing is rescuing my bike from its cold, outdoor home and getting a bit of exercise whilst cycling to work, but personally I'm rather a fair weather cyclist and sub-zero temperatures and bitter easterlies don't do it for me.  So, next time the heating goes into overdrive on the 8.03, I apologise to the unfortunate person who may have to deal with a fainting woman - it was that, or get the bikini out.

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