May 8th, 2020

marcus 2013

Into The Deserted City

Forgot to say I gave blood yesterday, at the West End Donor Centre near Oxford Circus. It was basically the same procedure as usual, but they did some triage on the street (turned away people without an appointment etc., or who seemed poorly, and gave people water and snacks while waiting) and had everyone wait outside until there was room in the waiting area inside (they kept it down to 3-4 people instead of 20 or so), and took people directly from the first blood test to the donation area without any waiting. Overall I don't think it took much longer than a usual visit. Fortunately the weather was very nice - I was waiting in the street for about 35 minutes, and it would not have been fun if it had been raining. Also, they had no seating outside, which might have been a problem for some.

Travel was a bit problematic - for some reason I hadn't realised that some of the smaller tube stations are closed at the moment, and it turned out that the one I intended to use to get there (Queensway) was one of them - fortunately I got a bus to Notting Hill Gate quickly and that was open, but timing was a bit tight. Coming back I intended to get a bit of shopping and end up at Great Portland Street station, which also (of course) turned out to be closed. Again I was reasonably lucky with buses. so it wasn't a huge problem. Public transport in London at the moment is VERY weird - continual announcements telling you not to use public transport unless it's an essential journey, but bus travel is free because they seem to have decided that there's too much risk of the driver getting infected if you use the normal payment as you board. They have the area immediately behind the drivers taped off to stop people getting too close and breathing at them. Buses had about one seat in four or five filled, ditto the tube, and buses were reasonably fast because travel was very light.

What I noticed a lot is that the West End seemed totally deserted, totally unlike normality - usually I'd expect to see a couple of hundred people on the streets between the blood donor place and the station, yesterday I'd be surprised if it was more than twenty, most of them queued outside Sainsburys in Great Portland Street - luckily I got the shopping I wanted at the nearby co-op, which was pretty much empty. It seemed especially odd because there were quite a few people on the street near Queensway.

Bonus points to anyone who can say where the title above comes from - hint, it's a mashup of two similar titles.

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