I joked with a friend before running the London Marathon last week that I didn’t mind where I  came as long as I wasn’t beaten by a banana. Foolish words. I passed someone dressed as a giant testicle at five miles running for a cancer charity, a beer bottle at ten miles and was out-sprinted by Super Mario Brothers in the home stretch. Oh, I forgot the old bloke running in a Mankini.

 

London transport staff. What a loveable bunch of misery merchants they are. Predictably sour, universally unhelpful and still wrestling with the basics of communication beyond grunting when someone dares ask for help.

They argue that the great unwashed tide of humanity that ebbs and flows past them all day stains them with petty irritations, grumpy demands and sarcasm that all but calcifies their better emotions.

Nothing is guaranteed to get your morning commute off to a worse start than an encounter with one of these subterranean Orcs.

Typical example last week. Waiting for a train in vain. Several services dropped off the indicator board with no explanation. An hour passed. The natives are getting restless.

I approach a ticket wallah at the barrier. He has his back to me.

‘Excuse me,’ I say. No response. ‘Excuse me, do you know when the next train to X is?’ Still no response. ‘Do you want to turn round when I’m talking to you?’

‘Why?’ says the back.

‘I just want to know how long the delay is likely to be.’

‘No idea. You’ll have to wait.” he says still not turning around.

‘Thank you. Great customer service.’

 No response. Welcome to London.

 

Tourist honey pot the London Dungeons promises its visitors a ‘horrible time.’

It certainly delivers with prohibitive ticket prices, one-and-half hour queuing times and exhibits that look like they haven’t been changed since the place opened.

A motley collection of drama students ham it up in various guises as our guides through London’s historical underbelly. Truly un-terrifying, witless mannequins who could be out-acted by a parrot.

A special thank you (not) to the miserable young lump who sullenly guarded the way to Traitor’s Gate.

If they are an indication of the new vanguard of thespians we can expect lean times indeed on the Oscar front.

The only thing that scared me was the entrance price and the fact that this sort of tosh is still being promoted as one of the capital’s must see attractions.

I also suffered the humiliation of being singled out in the torture chamber and made to sit in a chair while the ‘torturer’ displayed the use of various tools of the trade.

No water boarding or sleep deprivation here. Dick Cheney’s medieval relatives applied more subtle methods such as hooks driven into the buttocks, tongue rippers, hot irons and what looked like a Medieval cigar cutter for loping off your wedding tackle.

The last straw was staggering outside to find some skull-faced midget tottering up and down Tooley Street promoting the dungeons as the ultimate tourist experience. I felt like firing him out of the nearest circus canon into a brick wall.

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