This week has been another interesting and exciting week for me. With lots of challenges to overcome, starting with a tube strike by the London Underground on Monday. It could not have come on a worse day for me as at Midday I had an audition on the other side of London to get to.  The trip using the tube connections would have taken me about 50 minutes normally. So when I heard about the tube strike I gave myself an extra hour and half to use the buses with the goal to get there 30 minutes before my warm up time. A Northerner’s ignorance! I also thought it would be a great idea to take my trusty pink wheelie trolley bag with all my belongings rather than just a back-pack. [Which turned out to be a blessing as I’ll tell you later.]

It started well as the first part of the journey was OK, my bus stop is relatively near the beginning of the bus route so I was able to get a seat with my bag.  For the first 5 minutes I thought, goodness this tube stress is just malarkey, I have a seat and the bus is moving! HOWEVER at the next stop next to what would have normally been a busy tube station the amount of people waiting for the bus was just insane. The only thing I can compare it to is leaving the Manchester City Football stadium at the end of match and everybody trying to get on the same bus. The bus was packed both upstairs and down within minutes, bodies against bodies with very little wriggle room. People were pushing, desperate to get on, they seemed willing to risk getting their limbs trapped in doors, with families not being able to board together they had to agree to separate and travel on separate buses. The risk assessor inside of me was wishing I had a seat belt but I was quickly reassured because we were moving at a snail’s pace.

We were making very slow progress and the minutes were slowly ticking by. I was conscious of the time but kept telling myself “You left with plenty of time, you will make it”. Then suddenly it was announced that due to the long delay the bus was now having to change route and proceeded to kick off all the passengers a mile from the stop it was supposed to take me to.  My adrenaline kicked in and I managed to walk to the next connection which was a mile away in about 10 minutes. But the bus stop I had planned to use was queuing around the block.  Remembering the crush that I saw earlier I decided to walk back along the route and find a quieter stop. Every road was jammed solid, the buses, taxis, cars weren’t making progress even the bikes were finding it difficult! Success! I found the terminus for the bus route and managed to board the bus and soon we started moving along side streets  towards my next destination, but when we joined Oxford street again we ground to a halt.

I only traveled 800 yards in 30 minutes, with my audition time looming, I worked out it would take me about 35 minutes to walk the remaining 2.5 miles, and that If I stayed on the bus I would probably miss my slot. So I asked the bus driver to let me off and luckily he was a very nice man and he let me off at the next stop. I then zoomed and jogged like nothing before. Friends of mine will laugh as I am a terrible runner and would have been better off doing jetés down the pavement. So I weaved through the crowds with my four wheel wheelie bag (which has now had a very good review based on its mobility skills!) And to be honest, I must have had the look of fearless determination as people began to move out of my way as I flew towards them.

My Trusty Wheelie Bag
You’ll be relieved to know I made it just in time, to get changed fast and warm up before singing. Phew!!

Now I’ve been kicking myself for not getting a picture of the crowds for my blog, but here are a few I have found online. I must admit I did try to take a picture but people look at you very funny and I didn’t want to advantage of other people’s misfortune.


Picture From The Evening Standard – Tube Strike 2017
Then following the Audition I had to return to Royal College of Music for a rehearsal and I had the bright idea to walk back along the bus route rather than wait for the next bus.  The traffic was moving so slowly I just kept walking from stop to stop.  It started raining and after 2 miles but still no bus had caught me up.  I kept going down the Strand, then walked down the Mall, past Buckingham Palace and then up Constitution Hill.  I was started to tire now, but still no bus had passed me so I decided to refill with cheeseburger and a coke because my city mapper app had told me that I had burnt off the equivalent calories to this from the walk of my first half alone. So why not make the most of it. When I got to the Hard Rock Café it looked shut from the front door and I couldn’t see much life inside. I was panicking because there wasn’t much I could afford in the area, Kensington darling! I was starving and in need of a burger, so I searched for a possible way in. Luckily! It was under refurbishment so they were seating customers’ downstairs in the original part of the restaurant. Which was super cool! Sadly, I had not walked far enough for an Oreo cheesecake.  After a quick recharge I walked the rest of the journey and made it to school on time for my rehearsals which were fab!

78 thoughts on “Walkabout

  1. Wonderful story! And a mile in 10 minutes? That used to be my goal when I was still running 10k races! You earned the burger for sure. Too bad about the cheesecake, though. 🙂

    1. Some days a salad just won’t do 😄. I like it that they freely give you chilled water to drink and refills too. I hope your music season has started well Peter 🎶.
      Best wishes

  2. Woowww !!! It’s crazy !! Congratulation my dear Charlotte !! 🙂 ..I think for my next time in a big city, I will learn the roller skates :-)))
    Take care of you and all the best !!

  3. That was quite an adventure, Charlotte! You were smart to keep your cool and remain level headed as you made your way in time. Congrats to you for, I’m sure, successful rehearsals. Hugs 💕

    1. I found out today that it wasn’t my year Janice, but that’s ok I’ve been invited to try again next year. I always just keep trying you can’t win if you’re not in 🙂

      Best wishes

  4. May the Lord continue to bless you Charlotte through the ups and downs of rehearsals as you are the best and that will always beat the competition.

  5. That took real determination! It is a wonder you had enough breath left for singing audition or rehearsal!
    We had mutterings about strikes during a frenetic day of hopping on and off buses and underground and overground trains, but no disruptions not quickly overcome. We were nervous about being late to see ‘Evil’ but made it to the Apollo in good time.

    1. I was fine the adrenaline kicked in, I slept well that evening too, bonus.

      I love ‘Wicked’ so glad you made it, I used to sing the roles of Galinda and Elphaba, Popular is my favourite I saw it in London a several years ago.

      Best wishes

  6. Shu! what a mess, when the transport works properly it works wonderfully, when it doesn’t it becomes a nightmare. I often ended up walk running, at rush hour, to get to appointments, and shows ect. Well done for making both appointments. Hope the strike is over soon, and life gets back to normal, and that you get the part you auditioned for. Best wishes and blessings, Charles.

      1. Yes, I do the walk-run thing quite often as I am a bit slow in getting up in the morning and get late, so have run-walk the last mile or so to work! Sorry you missed but there is lots going on in London, so I’m sure there will be lots of other opportunities. Best wishes and blessings, Charles.

  7. I hate being late for anything so I understand how worried you must have been on that journey! I remember the rail strikes when I worked in London in the late 70’s and the queues for the buses and not getting home til very late in the evening! Horrible! Your wheelie bag did such good service! You would have been so much more tired if you’d had to carry your belongings. I am so pleased you got to your appointments on time 🙂
    With love, Clare

    1. I hate being late too. Exactly I was moaning to my Mum about how heavy my backpack was before Christmas with all of my books and shoes etc. so this Christmas I got this lightweight Kipling bag very manoeuvrable.

      Best wishes

  8. I love the idea of you jetéing down the crowded streets of London – the sight would have cheered up a few grumpy commuters, I’m sure! No doubt the running was more practical, though.

  9. Wow, I applaud your quick thinking! Happy to hear that you made it on time AND thrilled to hear that you were able to escape the clutches of the wicked cheesecake… #AGirlHasToDoWhatAGirlHasToDo

    1. Why is it that all the nicest things to eat are so cruel to the hips! I can’t wait for dance classes to start back up again next week so I can eat more of what I like.

      Best wishes

  10. Whew! So glad that you made it on time with all of the crowds. Glad that it went well too. Next time the Oreo Cheesecake! Walking is good, just takes a lot of time.
    Stay well Charlotte, Darlene

  11. What an adventure!! I remember walking the Strand and the Mall one day when I was a LOT younger – loved the experience with so many things to see! do you know what the outcome of your audition is?

    1. Yes, I didn’t get it, but that’s just how it goes they want to see me again next year so that’s a good sign. I learnt whilst at High School not to get upset about parts I went for and didn’t get because my Mum said get used to this if you want to work in the arts if you can’t deal with it do something else.

      Best wishes

  12. Your experience of strike day was eerily similar to mine, except that I only left myself an extra hour (and I’ve lived here for 20 years!) and missed my train from Paddington. Why they had to arrange a strike day to coincide with my dad’s birthday, I don’t know – very rude. I only wish I could claim similar levels of energy and determination! Hope the audition went well after all that.

    1. I must admit I did think that when I realised the strike action was on that day, Why?!

      It did go well, I didn’t get it but there’s always next time.

      Best wishes

  13. did you humn some sarcastic Jimmy Buffet? cheeseburger in paradise? I made a fancy purple soup whereby simple cabbage is done up in a sois vide type method – i.e. a specific amount of water and simple cabbage is heated gently then strained. as i don’t own a vaccuum sealer system, i had to special order a boil in bag from a camping outfit, mine packit gourmet – as i was too chicken to find out if i bought the wrong bag if i were to use a standard ziplock plastithene. or at egg poaching no boil just under it- cooke a bag of cabbage just about an hour….and again strain. i used the cheesecloth but noted i would have done well with a fruit mesh strainer and paper coffee filter. hint, not taking excuses should you claim incorrect tool, lack of kitchen accumen – I managed so so can anyone! to this rather bland affair was added bits fried elsewhere and bathed/drowned in the proper purple. my attempt said to try it with scallops and something known as salicornia/sea bean…yeah, not finding that at the market. so i used capers for the salty pop of brininess carrots and as i couldn’t find radish the crisp texture component? what?? REALLY! i had to pop a tin of sliced water chestnuts from the Asian Aisles. adding carrot and shallot otherwise. -instead of safron and radish if you’re following and promptly wonder if you were humming your Jimmy Buffet – Cheeseburger in paradise! Happy New Yea, Charlotte.

    1. I didn’t Starman I didn’t know that song, but I liked the lyrics for dieting January. It was ‘heaven on earth with an onion slice’. Perhaps I’ll have to write myself a song about Orea Cheesecake he he. I’ve not eaten purple cabbage or scallops but you made that sound quite nice.

      Happy New Year Starman.

      Best wishes

  14. What a nightmare! It reminds me of some experiences I had with the bus I took to the school where I used to work–and like you, the reward for putting up with the long waits, crowded buses, and frantic runs between connections was always some good food! I admit, I probably would not have had the strength of character to resist the Oreo cheesecake as well . . .

    You are really such a brilliant writer, Charlotte, as well as a fabulous singer (I’ve just started studying Quando M’en Vo with my voice teacher, and I’m using your recording as optimum guidance). When I read your post, it felt as though I had been there–and even though it was a real experience, you wrote about it in such an exciting way that it might as well have been in one of my favourite novels! I hope that someday you will write your memoirs, as a famous opera singer–people get so much more inspiration from people who not only know the topic they are writing on, but write in such a compelling and attractive manner into the bargain. Have you ever thought about someday writing books on opera/singing technique, to share your knowledge and experience with others in another sphere of influence besides your blog?

    Best regards,


    1. Thanks for your lovely message Cate, I keep all of my notebooks so you never know!

      I can recommend you look at some of the masterclass youtube videos with Joyce DiDonato and Renee Fleming.

      Best wishes

  15. Jeepers, Charlotte. I would have ate the Oreo cheesecake, anyway. This is the beauty of democracy. 🙂 I am happy that you made it to both destinations on time. Yet, I would have hoped people could handle these things in a better way opposed to going on strike.

  16. You are quite the adventurer maneuvering the streets of London. Are their burgers the same as in America? Just curious. Good luck with your auditions. Glad you made it to both your appointments. Enjoy! 🌼

    1. I’ve not had Hard Rock burger in the States, that’s interesting. I think I remember McDonald’s ones were a bit bigger in the States but that’s maybe because I was smaller when I had one.
      Best wishes

      1. Thank you. I am curious about many things. I am confined to my bed. Exploring and learning something new each day fascinates me, regardless of what it is. I am looking forward to hearing about your auditions. Have a wonderful day.

        Best wishes to you too.

      2. Isn’t that what’s wonderful about blogging Nancy, it opens up a world of interests and you can pop in and out of. All my best wishes and thanks for visiting my blog,
        Charlotte 🙋🏼

  17. Oh dear, it must be an absolute nightmare trying to get anywhere with all the strikes and travel difficulties in the London area. Well done to you for dealing with it calmly, making it to your audition and giving us a lovely account of your adventure. Tires me out just reading it! x

  18. Wow, that was quite the adventure! I can just picture you plowing through the crowd on the sidewalk: “Look out folks, here comes Charlotte!” Glad you were able to make it in time. Also, walking a mile in 10 minutes? I’m impressed (it usually takes me twice that long, and I’m a fast walker, but then I’m usually not in THAT much of a hurry).

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