I'm booked in for an OU day revision course at Kings College in the Strand (London) on 9 May and I am very excited about it. I'll finally be a student in a building with a live tutor, not just one at the end of a phone or an email. I've added on a couple of days either side to be able to see friends and family and perhaps even get to see what I've missed the most from London - a decent play. My cousin will be away on a cruise - bad thing because I wanted to see her; she has offered me her apartment to stay in - good thing because I won't have to pay for a hotel.
If I go to the theatre on a couple of evenings then I will have to find something that it has not been necessary to use for a long time now - the blasé late night public transport persona. Except for the last ten years, I have lived my entire life in London and regularly used to get the very late tube train home (Northern Line). Only once did something untoward happen and that was on the last tube of the evening - just after midnight. All the way home a man had been staring at me whilst I kept my eyes glued on my book (so how did I know he was staring at me? - I knew.) I left the station and he followed me up the footpath, overtook me and then turned back, grabbing my shirt as if to rip it. I'd always wondered what I would do in this situation - well, now I knew. I screamed and I screamed and I screamed. He ran away and I ran home. My parents wanted to call the police but I wouldn't have been able to give a description beside 'short and skinny' and this was long before CCTV took over the UK. So for the next two years I was too frightened to use the footpath (which was the short cut home) and had to do a long rambling well-lit circuit. My dad worked in the evening as a musician so was unable to meet me and my mum didn't drive. Of course I could have got a mini cab home from opposite the station, but you'll see why I didn't in a moment.
Anyway I hadn't thought about this incident for years, but thinking about returning to my cousin's apartment after an evening out has brought this memory to the fore. A taxi will cost about £70, that is if one will take me because, if it is over six miles from the centre of London there is no obligation for a licenced taxi cab to actually deliver what it is they advertise - a ride home for money. I am always reluctant to use mini cabs - I've had a few not very nice drivers in the past who - (how to put this) tried it on - and got duly sacked (and then I had to worry about revenge visits because, after all, they knew where I lived, having picked me up from home).
rag that calls itself a newspaper Daily Mail is to be believed, attacks happen on late night public transport regularly. Therefore I will be travelling with my key, credit card and money inside my bra and will just carry a token note to wave in front of potential muggers. I will step purposefully along, bathed in the glow of having seen a good play and give out positive and determined vibes. Don't mess with this OU student my body language will be saying - I'll recite Byron to you.