I was in a hurry, at 11am on a Wednesday morning in summer. I was going somewhere, focused on what lay ahead, when I discovered a tiny, unexpected haven of peace.
To reach the Metropolitan Line platform at Baker Street station I had to climb out of the crowded depths through narrow tunnels. Suddenly, I was in a place, with hardly anyone, a little daylight and some fresh air. I was not there for long, but I enjoyed the visit. There is something human about the scale of the place and its sense of order. It was clean and even the colour scheme seemed to work to organise and settle things. I am sure it feels very different in rush hour, but it worked for me.
Once the train came, we set off north-westwards into Metroland, so well described and loved by John Betjeman. This is a vast area of London suburbia created from the 1860s and still sustained by the Metropolitan Line. This is part of the London underground system but from this point on, runs almost all above ground, allowing you to see green and pleasant parks and gardens as well as the usual London sprawl. On a bright, warm June morning, sitting on the train passing Wembley, Pinner and Harrow, watching the ends of mature gardens go by, it was easy to understand why so many families saw this area as their promised land.