5 Problems That Short Londoners Will Identify With

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 30 months ago
5 Problems That Short Londoners Will Identify With
Photo: Andy Thornley

"Move down inside the carriage"

Yes, yes, we hear you, and we'd be more than happy to do so, if there was actually anything for us to hold on to further down.

We're more than happy to breathe in to allow you to squeeze past us and reach the space yourself, but until a train operator introduces a pole, bar or strap that us 5ft-ers can reach, we'll be sticking firmly to the zone near the door, thanks. It's for your benefit as much as ours. We may be small, but we make one heck of a missile when the driver hits the brakes.

Platform indicators

Picture the scene: we're at a mainline station in evening rush hour, just minding our own business and trying to work out which platform we need. Finally there's a parting of the crowd and we can see the platform indicator screens. We're scanning, scanning, looking for our train... until a giant steps in front of us, blocking our view. Listen mate, you're 6ft 2. You could read the boards from back at your office, no problem. Save the front row for those of us who need it.

Boris Bikes

Most of you middle-of-the-roaders can just hop onto your chosen Santander Cycle and disappear into the sunset, no thought necessary. That's fine, you go ahead. We'll catch up when we've finished adjusting the saddle height, like we have to every time, because anything other than the very lowest setting is an accident waiting to happen.

The cake counter

The genuine fear that sweeps us when faced with one of those tall, glass-fronted cake counters in coffee shops. Yes, muffins are all well and good, but not when they're taller than us and the barista is going to miss us completely and serve the person behind us in the queue over the top of our heads.

One might assume the person behind would point out to the barista that they've missed us, everyone will laugh awkwardly, and we'll get our latte in the end? Not so — on more than one occasion, the person behind us has carried on with placing their order, regardless of our presence.

While we're on the subject of coffee shops, what's with the trend for bar stools? We'll just start carrying a stepladder round in our pocket, shall we?


We've covered this one in some detail previously, but umbrellas pose a threat from all directions to someone of a certain stature.

If it's already raining and your umbrella is up, those shiny silver spikes which so attracted you to it in the shop are right at our eye height. We spend our days ducking and diving like a seagull on crack to protect our peepers (and nostrils, come to think of it).

If it's not yet raining, and you've got your lovely large umbrella folded, swinging horizontally at your side as you stride purposefully towards Starbucks for your lunch, that swinging spike, albeit at your knee height, is somewhere around our stomach, or worse, groin, height. We cross our fingers that never the twain shall meet.

The umbrella problem is particularly prevalent in the Square Mile, where tent-sized golf umbrellas are common, and people are plentiful.

Got any other short person problems in London? Let us know in the comments below. Or maybe you're taller than average and face your own issues? Tell us about those too.

Last Updated 30 September 2016

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