All that breaks the silence of the tube is the chorus of hacking coughs and wet sneezes that spreads through the carriage and reminds you of just how many germs you're in contact with right now.
The highlight of last week was the appearance of a parrot on the tube. Yes, a parrot.
I had climbed aboard the busy train at Farringdon and been pushed aside by a man intent on getting a seat. Thankfully, another one opened up opposite the one he'd found and I sank into it, faffing with my bag as I went. I looked up to glare at the man who'd pushed me and my now considerable belly aside and was stopped mid-look of death by the very uncomfortable expression he was pulling. The cause? The elderly gentleman in a flatcap who was sitting next to him had a parrot on his shoulder.
It was green and very pretty. It sat on his shoulder semi-dozing, attached to its owner via a lead connected to the ring round its ankle. It occasionally glanced around the carriage or readjusted its wings, but seemed utterly unperturbed to be commuting at rush hour on a mass transit system in London.
As we neared Paddington and I attempted not to stare, it began to coo softly then climbed round to its owner's front to nibble his cap. He spoke to it softly, reassuring it that they were nearing their destination. In fact, they got off at Paddington, and I had the joy of walking up the stairs next to them. And I mean joy, bizarre it may have been but the parrot looked healthy and happy and was a welcome splash of colour to my working week.
I'm really missing my bike and with Eenie getting ever heavier, walking is becoming a bit of a chore and commuting is rubbish.
Bring on the parrots.