Monday, 28 September 2009

Hampton Court Palace

Despite having lived in London for 10 years, I hadn’t – until today – visited Hampton Court Palace.  We spent the afternoon wandering around the state apartments, kitchens, gardens and other numerous buildings and rooms.

Who knew that Hampton Court Palace was home to the world’s oldest known grape vine?

We also went into the maze.  Contrary to popular belief, Hampton Court Maze can be escaped using the method of “putting your right hand onto the wall and walking in such a way that it never leaves contact with the wall” but we decided not to try that method opting for the method of stopping at every fork and seeing which of the two options appears “less obviously heading towards the centre, and so more likely to be the correct route”.  Having said that, we got to the middle with no dead ends met on the way…

The journey out to Hampton Court was uneventful in terms of delays and cancellations (there were none of the latter, and only a minor version of the former).  The journey from Tower Hill to Hampton Court took the best part of two hours though – fine if you’re doing the Guardian crossword and on a day out, but how could you cope with doing it every day?

I’ve been lucky for the past few years – for over five years now, I’ve not had to take public transport to commute to work.  These days, I can get to the Symbian offices in 40 minutes of casual strolling from home.

I think it’s the lack of regular use of public transport which gives me such a un-jaded view of the quality of trains in the UK.  It’s rare that I take a train – overground or tube – and so it’s very rare indeed that I get hit by a cancellation or troublesome delay. 

Let’s presume that 90% of train journeys in the UK are trouble-free (that’s about right, from the latest statistics).  I take a train around once a month, and so I’m going to get hit with trouble in my journey once every ten months – so rare that I’m not going to notice it, really.  Whereas if you’re doing a journey every day, then you’re going to get hit once every two weeks.  No wonder regular commuters complain about the trains.

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