London Zones 1-4 Challenge 11APR12

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Ascot

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Well I've never really done a report for a challenge and since I can't find any more this date I'll get the ball rolling. Unfortunately I had work commitments that day so could only join the meal afterwards but here's my spin on the day/evening.

My morning started off at 7am at Hyde Park Corner where I had to go to Canary Wharf via Green Park and the Jubilee Line to a nearby office space (Ivo, it was the 29th & 37th floors not the 5th). After finally getting out around 11am I made my way back to Kings Cross via London Bridge with the intention of spending a few hours of touching down before meeting everyone else at St Pancras. However this didn't go to plan as the room I was registered in had only one gentleman in who could bore you to death, so off back to Hyde Park Corner for a quiet drink.

On my way back I made contact with bb21, who I believe was equally bored, so we agreed to meet up in a bar for a drink near Hyde Park. We spent about 3 hours in the bar/lounge enjoying a selection of canapés and drinks while checking on the progress of the challenge before heading back to St Pancras in time to log the teams arrivals. Much to my pleasure the "meeting point" was located next to a pub which became the "official checkpoint" until half way through my pint, Mike395 came along to say bb21 had made a balls up of the statues and the actual meeting point was the same distance as 18 coaches along the concourse.

bb21 thankfully decided to wait at the actual meeting point with his clipboard and direct the teams to the pub where it was good to finally put faces to names with many new people and catch up with everyone else. After a drink each we totted up the scores and found a winner before heading down to a Pizza Express to eat. Now the fun started as after the meal someone suggested a pub crawl on the DLR for a bit starting with Shadwell, great I though, long day at work I deserve a drink.

So half of us trundled down to Bank (with the other half catching us up later due to table arrangements) and onto the DLR to Shadwell. Unfortunately the brightspark who suggested Shadwell forgot to mention it was a council estate ;) so we hop back on the next DLR to Cutty Sark were finally we found a nice pub. Some of the other half had to split up to return home and a few others made there way along the DLR to North Woolwich where some of us met there before all returning "home" via Bank and the Drain.

Much to my amusement I was on an Oyster card and managed to touch in twice so had a lovely overcharge to deal with at Waterloo before making my way back to Hyde Park Corner for a well deserved sleep. Next morning I was up at 7am again to return to Canary Wharf until 10am when I was summoned back to Birmingham on the 11:03 EUS-BHM, which being half-term, was dead as a dodo at the back end, before returning to Victoria Square until 4pm.

All in all I am disappointed I couldn't take part in the challenge and catch up with people for longer but an enjoyable day nonetheless and made a change to the working evenings. Looking forward for the next one!
 
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Mike395

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Ah yes, I wont let bb21 live that statue mixup down for a while don't worry ;)

Was good to meet up, albeit relatively briefly due to sporting a foot injury so not particularly enthusiastic about trekking round Docklands! :)
 

sonic2009

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BB21 and his famous clipboard :) when we went out on a Virgin Bash a few weeks ago, he left his new notebook in the 1st class lounge at Crewe, had to go back to get it back later in the day :)
 

Crossover

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Excellent day out (though for me this was total of about 2 1/2 days, with the challenge in the middle) and nice to meet some more people.

I may make a little report of happenings of the past few days (it has certainly been interesting!) but for now, I will leave it at this as time is marching on.

All I will say is that the trip was finished off very nicely with a trip in 1st Class on the northbound East Coast service to Leeds this evening which had an excellent crew and therefore a very pleasant experience :)
 

Ivo

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I might as well write mine up now I have a chance, but I'll keep it brief.

After being slowed down in the morning by my niece I missed the 0909 from Thorpe Bay I had intended to travel on and instead ended up on the 0924, arriving at Waterloo at something like 1040. We all split up, and at 1100 away we went. I wandered off to Platform 3 for the 1103 to Guildford, bailing out at Wimbledon where my planned +4 became a +6. A good start! How could things possibly go wrong?

Answer: Signal failure at High Street Kensington! <( All the way round the Circle as planned, but after seeing no 1150 at Gloucester Road I had to wait for the delayed 1200 to Hammersmith (the long way round), and had to bail out at Goldhawk Road and head back to Wood Lane and then White City, meaning I missed out on both Hammersmith stations, the District to Ealing Broadway and the three Acton stations on the Central line - a net loss of 12 points.

Come White City though I was back on time, so round to Woodford via Hainault I went on what was actually a very quiet 1992 Stock train. And roughly 1h10 later, we arrived at Woodford, ready for me to get back to Stratford, where an awkward +3 awaited me; as it turned out, we hit Stratford early anyway.

Next was the Overground to Canonbury, where I got off - and noticed my next connection would have been cross-platform at Highbury & Islington (a 50% chance in theory), so I chanced that and made it with about 90 seconds to spare. Down to Crystal Palace the 378 went, only to arrive there 2 down - giving me a +2 to get from the LOROL platforms to the separate platforms, via a mountain of stairs. Fun. Finally, I headed from there to Euston, via Balham - and realised we were early there too, so I decided to take a gamble and go for one extra station - Warren Street.

Big mistake. Some Cockney scumbag decided to jump the ticket barrier and board without paying, so we were stopped as soon as we left Euston! This cost me 12 minutes and made me arrive back at KXSP 9 late, incurring a 2 point penalty! <( Next time I'll remember this and go for the Piccadilly at KXSP instead...

So, overall, the target was 127; this was reduced to 125 upon learning that (a) I had counted Liverpool Street twice in my planning and (b) Cannon Street was closed, only for Highbury & Islington and Warren Street to negate those losses. Instead, a net loss of 14 scythed my score and resulted in me finishing 4th out of roughly 7 on 113. A third straight Challenge in which I had a winning score taken away from me by factors out of my control...

Will my luck ever change?
 
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