Thursday, January 26, 2012

Return Trip to Heathrow Terminal 5

My son, wife and I were ready to leave London on Friday.  We needed to get to Heathrow Airport.  Since we didn't rent a self-drive car we had several choices.  Overground/Underground, taxi or private hire minicab.  Seeing how we had problems on the Overground/Underground we took that choice out of the mix.  My daughter stepped in and hired a private minicab to take us to Heathrow.  
A Mercedes Vito Taxi Bus arrived at the apartment house door.  The driver helped us get our bags loaded into the cargo area of the bus.  My son sat in the front beside the driver.  My wife and I had the back with its three seats facing three seats.  There was plenty of room even with my wife's leg up on the seat for a few more people.  We started on our way through London.  I guess there are no bypass roads, for it seemed we went through the most congested areas of the city.

I haven't spoken much of the traffic in London, mostly because I didn't drive in it.  However, let me say I never want to drive in it, either.  What a mess.  The first thing I noticed the day we visited Harrod's is that there are no parking lanes along the city streets.  That may not seem like a big deal.  Philadelphia has no parking along the Market Street, but most other Philadelphia streets have parking on at least one side.  Without a buffer of parked cars along the street means there are huge, double decker buses traveling along the curb at a good clip.  If, you have a lapse of consciousness and walk too close to the curb ...  Let me just say it is a good thing that health care in UK is free.

Another practice that frightened me are bicycles or motorcycles traveling between the moving vehicles in an operator invented cycle lane.  On the way to Heathrow a motorcycle clipped the mirror of our taxi as it passed us driving between us and a double decker bus.  I admit, I have driven motorcycles in my youth.  I owned two small Yamahas.  I even did some illegal driving on shoulders around cars and zig zagging between cars from open space to open space, but never like these nuts between moving gargantuan vehicles that could squish you spewing your guts out like a toothpaste from a tube.

There was one time I passed a line of cars on 18th street near Rittenhouse Square.  I had a female passenger on the back and her knees spread out a bit farther aound me than did mine around the gas tank.  I was traveling at less than 5 MPH, probably just fast enough to keep my balance and travel in a straight line.  A passenger, in one of those cars I was passing on the right, opened the door and struck my passenger in her knee.  I am sure it hurt.  Really hurt.  The screaming and crying may have given me a clue.  I never did that again.  
This photograph is not London but this is the kind of lane inventing of which I write
I guess if I needed to drive in London I would become familiar with its peculiarities, but my blood pressure would be through the roof and my eyes bulging out of my head like some kind of surprised cartoon character.  I think, when I return, I will be content to leave the London driving to the locals.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved


  1. Our primary role is to pick and drop passengers from all London Airports which includes Middlesex Heathrow airport, Gatwick airport, Middlesex City airport etc.

  2. Job well done, too, if I do say so myself.


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