Marie remarked to R how she loves The Tube. By the end of our time in London R said, Marie can have her Tube. I don't like it. I think the Jubilee Line which we used frequently is one of the busier lines but not the busiest. Even though there is a train every few minutes, it was always crowded, standing room only when we boarded at North Greenwich.
When we returned to London after our UK tour and were stuck in stop start traffic in our coach, I remarked to R, it would be good if we could get off and catch The Tube. He gave me a dirty look.
Within greater London there is also the overground train system and national rail and it is so complicated to a stranger. It would be easier to use terms suburban trains and regional trains.
The stored value Oyster Card system works well, although who can work out on which buses you to scan off and which you don't. You have to watch out when using the Docklands Light Rail as there aren't barriers to open when you scan your Oyster, only a single? point as you enter the station area and they can be easy to miss when you are concentrating on where you going.
As I said, the heat at the underground stations and on the trains makes for an unpleasant trip. Air conditioned trains are being built and in service now, but I don't believe it is possible for all trains to have air con because of the very tight tunnel clearances. The open windows facing the direction of travel did let in a huge flow of fresh air and R one day ended with what I called Tube Hair.
Not too many buses seemed to have air con either and there is no excuse for that. Even the new Routemasters (Boris Buses) buses don't have aircon. Absurd.
Often on buses people would crowd the lower floor and not climb upstairs. An unwritten rule should be for younger people to go upstairs if they are travelling any distance and leave the down stairs seats for the less abled. Speaking of which, about twice each we were offered seats by someone and they were usually getting off at the next stop or station. Young people thought nothing of stepping in front of you to take a vacant seat as you were moving to towards it. It is a generalisation but I think here in Melbourne as an older person, you are more likely to be offered a seat.
But generally people are super polite in GB, at times annoyingly so. I shouldn't be such an old grump. We never felt unsafe anywhere we went, although we were on the tourist trails.
London is a very multicultural city and seems quite harmonious. Yes, I know there are problems at times and in some areas, but you don't have that feeling as you move around the city.
Now to phones. I don't think we need to qualify with mobile/cell anymore. Many people using The Tube used their phones but passively for listening to music. There isn't phone reception in The Tube, although I think there may be Wifi and perhaps that has something to do with it. But even on the street, people weren't walking along slowly while staring at their phone screens as they frustratingly do here. When in the company of R's family up north, while people would check their phones in company, that is all they would do. They weren't using them obsessively as people do here in Australia. Our Friend in Japan when she was last in Australia remarked how frustrating phone usage is on the streets. Of course sometimes pedestrians are using them for directions, as we did in the UK.
I did not like the early BBC news on tv. It was so slow and boring. The BBC News at 10 was much more what we are used to at home. When I heard a BBC reporter refer to vertigo for weed pickers at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, I was very disappointed. Vertigo is not a fear of heights.
What else.... the Docklands Light Rail, DLR is a driverless train with an attendant who can manually drive the train if they have to. The Jubilee Line, London's newest Tube line, is also a driverless train but there is a driver there ready to intervene if necessary. The driving had me puzzled until I found out it was automatic. There were instances where it would brake and then speed up and then brake again. If there was a driver at the controls, they would have just coasted.
Obesity: If you live in London and regularly use The Tube, you are probably not obese. Like inner city Sydney people, Londoners walk, a lot, and even older people are generally slim, trim and fit.
I've been to many places in the world where there have been wars, but learning about and seeing Northern Ireland was truly scary.
To wrap, here is a short video of me 'driving' the Docklands Light Rail. Hey, the windscreen wiper is in front of me, I must be driving.