The Great BBC White City Disaster

I went to London yesterday. And came home again. In between, some stuff happened, some of it involved a job interview. Most of it didn’t.

First, I got my stuff together and left the house to get the 0725 bus to Scarborough. So far, so good. At about 0825 I got off the bus and went to make a phone call. It was then I realised my phone was gone. So, I wait for the bus to come back around to the stop (Scarborough is where it terminates) to look for it in case I’d dropped it on there. If I’m lucky, I’ll have left it at home in the last minute get-out-of-the-house frenzy.

Anyway, there I am jumping up and down waiting because my train leaves at 0847. Eventually, just before quarter to nine he comes back. But there’s no sign of the phone. Bugger. Luckily, the train is in the station so I quickly jump on to it and sit down wondering where my phone has got to. The train pulls out and just then the speakers wake up and tell me that this is the service to Hull.

But I want to go to York. Bugger.

So I have to get off at Seamer, which is the first stop and then wait for an hour for the next York train, which, thankfully, also stops there. The York train is delayed by around 15 minutes, so at just after 10 o’clock I finally get on it. While I’m waiting for the train I try to use a payphone to see if anyone has picked up my phone. The payphone doesn’t take cash and it doesn’t like my card either. Bugger.

There’s no way I’ll make the 1005 from York to King’s Cross now. But I do at least make the 1135.

The train gets into London bang on time at 1343, which is one good thing. I now have to get across London to White City, supposedly for 2 o’clock, but that is clearly not going to happen. I don’t even have time to ring ahead to tell them I’ll be late.

I’d forgotten how bad London smells, or at least the Tube part of it. Anyway, by 1430 I am finally standing in the reception of the BBC’s White City Media Centre, more than a bit dishevelled and not entirely relaxed. At this point I go straight into the interview. It isn’t my best performance as frankly I’m still feeling stressed by the journey and still wondering where the hell my phone is. I’m a bit snappy, irritable and that makes me look a bit defensive. I’m also concerned at my comparative lack of enterprise level experience, though I know most of the stuff they’re asking me about. They also seem surprised that I have done most of this from a teaching point of view, though I wonder if this is because I hadn’t emphasised that in the application. But it stops short of being a total disaster, merely reaching the level of a partial one. A shame, because I actually quite like the three guys interviewing me, who all seem like nice people. And the job is great, involving working on the BBC News website itself: hard work and more than a little daunting but interesting nonetheless.

The interview lasts for around an hour, then out I step blinking into the sunlight again. Actually, when I say sunlight, that’s a lie; I step out into slate grey clouds, ready to tip an amount of water straight down. Which they do. Thankfully I don’t get too wet because it’s not that far to White City tube station.

I get off at Oxford Circus to have a bit of a browse around Oxford Street and down Regent Street, partly to have a wander in the Apple Shop, but mainly to have a walk into Hamleys to see if there’s anything nice I can find for Katie. Hamleys is great and I come out having spent a little bit of money. The streets are pretty much flooded with all the rain; there has been a lot of it.

I don’t want to get the 2000 train back to York, just in case I miss connections back to Scarborough and end up missing the last bus back to Whitby. I decide that I’ll get an earlier train, knowing I’ll have an excess to pay. Forty three quid is a bit bloody steep though. But I swallow hard and pay up, figuring it’ll be worth it if it gets me home that little bit quicker. At that point I wonder if I really want the job because the prospect of living in London is not exactly overexciting me as I stand in a long, fractious queue. Still, the new St Pancras station looks really good on the approach.

The journey back is actually quite relaxing and I get back into York at 2055 to see the Scarborough train is running late, which I hop onto. With luck I can get the 2210 bus back to Whitby…

…except I can’t, because now the winter timetable is running. They now miss the 2210 out and run the last bus at 2310. I do get a chance to nip into the 24-hour Tesco and grab some stuff for today’s lunch. As I stand at the stop in the cold, I see the last train from York pull into Scarborough at just after 11. I’d have made it back, so I spent the extra £43 for nothing. Bugger.

The bus gets me home at around midnight. And I didn’t leave my phone at home either. Bugger bugger bugger.

Still, it could have been worse I suppose. Because one of today’s jobs is now going to be sorting my missing mobile out.

And I’ll find out I didn’t get the job on Tuesday.

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