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YUMMY MUMMY: My week with the great unwashed

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ONE of the biggest advantages of living in Croydon has to be the public transport links. Bus, tram, train we've got it all. I happily boast to all non-Croydonians how fortunate we are and how much of a commuters dream it is.

Coming from someone who can walk to work but has to drive and who would rather walk in 6 inch heels for a mile than run for a bus, I could be accused of being a touch rose-tinted in my public transport views.

So, work have sent me on a course. Although personally I think you can't improve on perfection, apparently the powers that be tell me otherwise. This means a week uptown. I am to become part of the Public Transport Commuting Club. How exciting!

Day one arrives. My Oyster all topped up, away I go. I almost feel like I am one of "them". Elbows are sharpened and my headphones are in. I've joined the rats, ready to race. I even manage to get a seat on the train. I sit back and wonder why anyone moans about peak travelling. Seems fine to me. All right, I did have to stand for a bit on the tube but with Fame pounding into my ears, I didn't mind. It made it easier to tap my foot.

My first day ends as smoothly as it began with not so much as a sweaty armpit or rail rage incident to be smelt let alone seen.

Day two and again I get a seat with ease, and again consider what a breeze this commuting lark is.

Almost as soon as the thought crosses my mind, a huge sweaty businessman takes the seat next to me. Clearly, the thought police must be out in force. I'm being punished.

I attempt to squish myself over as much as possible but am not keen on the thought of my face wiping the grubby window. I sit instead with just the tip of my nose rubbing the glass. Wonderful. Our legs are still touching and by the warmth that is radiating, Mr Big Suit is also still sweating. Turning up my music I decide to ignore this little commuting blip and make the most of the dark tunnel view. This can only get better methinks.

Day three and four I become quite used to my nose rubbing glass. If it's not on the window of the train, it's on the doors of the tube or if I'm really lucky, yet another smelly armpit. As for the term standing room, it's leaning on others room more like. Beautiful.

By the end of the week, I've lived the dream. I am ready to wake up.

As for the race? Well, I think I will leave it to the rats.

YUMMY MUMMY: My week with the great unwashed


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