When chat’s too hot for the tube

As the nation recovers from its collective sunburn, there will be a hardcore of curmudgeons who will be willing for November to come early.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 6:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 7:58 am
Blaise Tapp

It is the British Way - moan for months about how global warming must be something happening elsewhere but when flag-cracking summer does finally arrive, there are those who long for endless rain and an opportunity to dig out their trusty Peter Storm anorak.

It is times like these I am grateful for the fact I am not a slave to public transport as I would rather share a sofa with Boris Johnson than spend any length of time stuck in the oppressive heat on the 192 or cattle class on an InterCity.

It is the commuters I feel sorry for, especially during the summer, even though it is usually relatively short-lived.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The idea of regularly having to inhale the body odour of a complete stranger who couldn’t be bothered to shower before work is something that has always troubled me and it is only going to get worse this time of year.

Rail bosses will point to the millions invested in shiny new air-conditioned trains but a carriage is always going to smell like a teenager’s bedroom when people in polyester suits are standing on tiptoe to ensure they are in the office by 8.30am.

Over the past few months, I have had an insight into this world, having had the need to catch the rattler into The Big Smoke, as nobody ever calls it anymore, for meetings in places so salubrious that the soap in the gents is made from kelp.

There are a series of rules which you need to abide by when travelling on trains and the tube in London, with the most important being not to make eye contact or, heaven forbid, attempt conversation with fellow travellers. These are rules which I frequently break, attempting ice-breakers with people who really would rather not discuss the weather with you is never easy but I have never been one for the sound of silence.

I also enjoy making a big deal of offering up my seat to anybody who looks like they need it, even if it involves clambering over a sea of briefcases to make my point.