Tales from the Underground


I have a love hate relationship with the tube. I love that you can get from one side of the city to another in no time at all. Hate how often to do that you are packed inside the carriage, nose in someone's arm pit. 

So with the London Underground celebrating its 150th year this year I thought I'd share some of my very own stories with you. Some good. Some bad. Some very, very cringe. 

Lets start with a bad one. 

I'd only been in London a short time when I headed home on the Central line after a night out. I hadn't actually drank that much (for once) and was minding my own business when I became aware of heavy breathing. 

Oh God, I thought to myself.

I've heard about these tube perverts!

I slowly turned to look at him, scared as to what I was about to see. But before I had time to do anything he'd leaned forward - and vomited. All over himself. And all over my shoes. I was almost sick myself with the smell of it. 

I sat stunned before swishing off at my station which was luckily the next stop. I was very unimpressed and my shoes were beyond saving. Damn shame. I loved those shoes. 

Another time I almost ended up spending the night in the cells. Seriously. 

Picture the scene. It's a Monday night. It's been a long day at work. You've left for the day and it's raining heavily. You race to the station to find your tube line is down - in fact several are. 

You're not a picture of calm right now, are you? Nope. Neither was I. 

I jumped on the Northern line only to have it crawl all the way to Moorgate. There I jumped off and decided to head to Liverpool Street. So had the rest of London. It was busy. And I mean BUSY. I was cold, wet, tired and wanted to be at HOME. 

I get to the barrier only to find a tourist in front of me with huge backpack and obviously no idea how to get through. 

Now in hindsight I should have just helped her. But please remember the above. I repeat: I'm cold, wet, tired and want to be at HOME. 

So instead of helping I say: 'Turn the ticket the other way.' I say I said it. More like I shouted. 

She looked at me blankly. 

'TURN THE TICKET THE OTHER WAY ROUND,' I shout again with wild hand gestures. 

I didn't mean to shout, I really didn't. But…. well… I just wanted to be at HOME. 

Anyway, she bursts into tears. The queue behind us is bigger than ever. She's now sobbing so isn't moving at all. 

Then a policeman comes over. He's witnessed the entire exchange. (Well, not really exchange. More me shouting…)

Anyway, he looks at me sternly and says: 'I do not like the tone you are taking. If you carry on I will be forced to arrest you.' 

I glare at him. The tourist with the huge backpack steps to one side. I tap my Oyster and run through. All the way down the escalator. It's not until I am at home and regale the story to my slightly horrified boyfriend that I realise what I've done and am mortified. 

But what can i say? The underground. It turns the most sane people slightly crazy at times. 

And now for a story that I would rather forget but am sure you, dear reader, will find rather amusing. 

I bring to you - the accidental lap dance. 

The tube is packed and I have been forced to stand in the middle, in-between the seats, arm stretched holding on to the hand rail (not easy when you're only 5ft 2). I never travel light so have a couple of bags and I am trying to position them so they don't knock into the face of the man sitting down. 

As I am faffing with my bags the tube draws into the station but doesn't do so smoothly. Oh no. It jerks. Not once but at least three times causing me to fall into the lap of the man I was trying not to hit  with my bags. 

Awful enough but as I try to get up the train continues to jerk causing me to not only be unable to get up but actually causing me to grind into this poor mans lap. And to make matters worse my dress has ridden up so he can pretty much see my pants that have seen better days. 

As the tube finally stops and opens its doors I am able to pull myself up and sort my dress out, face a reedy/purple colour. I apologise profusely to the man and he just smiles and goes back to his paper. Of course, this being London, no one else really takes any notice. Or they didn't look like they were anyway. I'm pretty sure they probably headed into the offices and told the story of this 'crazy lap dancing girl' to their colleagues over the water cooler. 

So if that story sounds familiar to you… Yeah that was me. 

Of course, the underground isn't all bad. It's actually a nice refuge when it's cold and raining. It certainly beats getting the bus or being in your car, stuck in traffic. 

And sometimes it can be a very happy, friendly place. Just this Christmas I was travelling from central London back home when a young guy heading into Essex began a sing-a-long to 'Fairytale of New York'. By the chorus everyone was joining in with him. Strangers swaying along and singing at the tops of their voices. 

A few days later I was travelling home from my Christmas party and struck up a conversation with a man opposite me who was holding a nice bottle of red wine. He explained he was also on the way home from his Christmas party and this was his Secret Santa gift. As we drew into his stop he handed me the bottle of wine and with a 'Merry Christmas' he was gone. Who says Londoners aren't a friendly bunch, eh? 

So happy birthday London Underground! Here's to many more stories - some bad, some good, sing-a-longs and of course accidental lap dances… 

What are your tube experiences - good and bad? Let me know! 


  1. I howled at that last story! I empathise totally with this post - luckily the Tube isn't part of my everyday routine, but the man at Ealing Broadway giving out candy canes over Christmas makes it more bearable! :)

  2. Ha! Glad you liked. Will have to head to Ealing Broadway this Christmas for sure! x

  3. Actually was in fits reading your stories! I've had a similar experience on the tube as the man throwing up on you, only I jumped out the way and he ended up throwing up on some poor woman behind me :s

    1. Glad you enjoyed! The perils of the Underground...!
      Just read your blog - love it!

  4. I love love love this post! I also love/hate the tube. Mostly love it when it's freezing in the winter and it's a warm, quick way of getting around! The worst part is definitely trying to squeeze into a rammed carriage, fortunately I've never experienced someone throwing up on the shoes... not yet anyway, touch wood! xx

    1. Aww, so glad you like! The perils of the Underground, eh?! xx

  5. Wow you've had some underground experiences! Haha I really loved this post, particularly the line 'I bring to you - the accidental lap dance.'! I've not got any stories quite like these but I do love the little moments on the tube when you overhear or see something that really makes you smile :) And how good is the 150 years advert?! I love it! x

    1. Haha, glad you liked!! Thanks for reading - checking out your blog now :-) x

  6. You've definitely had some interesting experiences on the tube! The lapdance one was hilarious, although I'm sure I'd be mortified too! And the wine one was incredibly sweet.

    I only have one underground mini-story, and yes it was one of those tube perverts. Only I was in Madrid on the Metro on a not very busy train, a guy got on behind me, stayed behind me and gradually edged closer, the train bumped a bit and I felt what I though was his hand graze my bum. Yeah, it was not his hand!

    1. Oh no - that's awful!!

      Safiya, do you have a blog? If not, you need one for all your stories that rival mine!

    2. Haha, thank you! I do have one, no stories of public transport perverts, but equally rambly stories. http://ohsuchaprimadonna.blogspot.co.uk/

    3. Amazing - checking your blog out NOW!