Eid Milad-Un-Nabi

Thanks to a signal failure due to a cable fire in the Waterloo area, my train up to London came to a halt in Feltham, then crept forward slowly to Twickenham before expiring completely. Ten minutes later another service took me the few hundred yards further to St Margarets, where I abandoned rail and jumped onto a passing bus to Richmond.

I’m not quite sure why our railways still essentially rely on nineteenth century technology, particularly when the manpower to keep it working as it used to in the old days has long since become prohibitive, and various rationalisation programmes have cut the flexibility and redundancy needed to give it reliability. It seems to have been almost six hours before the system returned to more or less normal working, and things were still in a mess when I came home several hours after that.

We have reliable fault-tolerant communications systems (you are reading this thanks to one) and navigational systems that could locate every train on a network to within a few centimetres and give its accurate speed and direction. Modern systems could be devised that would enable much higher traffic densities without sacrificing safety, and make problems such as this a thing of the past.

However, should you ever want a slow and frustrating ride through some of the more obscure southwest London suburbs I recommend the 493 route, which even includes a ride past Wimbledon Park and the world’s most famous tennis club before taking you past the dog track and on to Tooting.

Not expecting such travel problems, I hadn’t allowed the extra hour or two, not bothered to take a map, both of which would have been useful. So perhaps might have been a phone that could have used the Transport for London journey planner, although as so often this fails to find the fastest route (the 493 at 80 minutes is the best it suggested when I tried it out after I got home. In the unlikely event you ever need to do this journey try a 337 to Clapham Junction and then a 219, which should save you 20 minutes or so – and changing at Wandsworth for the 270 to Tooting Broadway could be even quicker…)

Thanks to a half-mile run after I abandoned the bus I almost reached the starting point for the Tooting Sunni Muslim Association’s procession for Eid Milad-Un-Nabi as they started ‘promptly’ only around 20 minutes late.


The Juloos to honour the birthday of the Prophet, and was part of an all-day community event which I attended last year, going into the clebrations inside the Tooting Leisure Centre and being very impressed by the ‘whirling dervishes’.

This year the weather was not quite as good, and there seemed to be rather fewer people taking part, although as last year this did include local community representatives including the Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Mrs. Claire Clay.

Last year we had better weather – and better pictures?

This year I left the procession as it turned into Garratt Lane as I wanted to go into the centre of London and view some exhibitions.

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