The plan was very simple, go into London and stand outside London Fashion Week venues and capture images of the attendees out on the street. Storm Eustace on the day before combined with the odd protest contributed to the shows being moved and more secrecy as to where they were being held. So instead we did a few hours of Street Photography around Covent Garden
Farnborough Main station was quite empty when I arrived at 8 am. At the booking office I learnt that there had been no trains either up or down the line that morning. The clerk was reluctant to even sell me a ticket. Online no trains were reported running. The boards then showed a train going to at least Woking . A train came through on the ‘fast line’ but running very slowly. Then our train could be seen in the distance. Once on the train, the guard told us that neither her or the driver had a clear idea as to where the train would be going after Woking. The line from Alton was blocked and this train was supposed to be joined up with a train from there.
At Woking everyone rushed over to platform 5 and we just managed to catch a stopping train into Waterloo. All in all it took us just under two hours from Farnborough. At Waterloo the concourse was jammed and looking up at the boards there wasn’t a train scheduled to leave!
We were meeting with Polly Rusyn and about a dozen other photographers at Somerset House to begin our workshop at 11 am. Instead of the planned workshop we walked over The Strand to Covent Garden and set ourselves some street photography tasks.
After we met near the Royal Opera Opera House the rain started! I swapped my 35 mm lens for my 24-105 lens as it was supposedly waterproof. The downside was that it was not really small enough for discrete street photography.
Next we tried walking up to Seven Dials and close to the Banksy Exhibition which we’d visited in June 2021.
This cabbie was taking a break.
I stood in the middle and dodged cars before walking down past the Banksy Exhibition and back to Covent Garden.
Covent Garden in the rain
One of the shops, Glossier, was handing out umbrellas for the folks queueing to enter the shop.
While I sheltered under the arches, I watched one of the jewellers working in the window.
We had learnt that one of the open Fashion Week venues was near Selfridges. The new plan was to go there as the weather forecast was for the rain to stop later in the afternoon. A quick check on trains and our worst fears were realised as there were still no trains scheduled to leave Waterloo. Our hopes that everything would be sorted by late afternoon were just that – hopes!
Once at Waterloo, the concourse wasn’t as busy as before. But the boards were showing delayed or cancelled trains. Even more worrying was that the gates to the old International Terminal (and now the trains via Bracknell) were all locked. I bought a sandwich and started to make plans on how to go to get home. Then I noticed that the the 11:05 to Southampton, marked delayed on the board, was now showing board. This was just before 2 pm. It was 10 carriages long and as we walked down the platform it soon became apparent that this train had been sitting there for quite a while as every carriage we passed was full.
We did find seats near the front and then at 14:15 we were told this train was now just to Basingstoke only. It would stop at most stations on its way. The speed restrictions were still in place that it took nearly an hour and 3/4 to get to Farnborough!
Maybe next year I’ll try again at London Fashion Week.