The London bus network: our answer to tube strikes, vitamin D deficiency and naps after a night on the town. It's also a 24-hour mass of Oyster etiquette, diversions and aisle-or-window seat dilemmas. So to reduce your bus-related stress, here are seven things you must never do on a London bus:
1. Paint your nails
People freak out, even if it's just a few maintenance touch ups for a special event. Bus drivers have been known to stop the bus, jump out of their little hatch and complain about the smell too; they obviously don't understand the importance of nail beauty - apart from the man above that is.
2. Ask the bus driver where the bus goes
If you don't already know, why are you on the bus? For one thing, the bus driver will have no interest in listing places in London to you and will probably ignore you as he is chatting to his mate on the radio. Secondly, as you've stopped to loom as close as possible to that smeared plastic divider that bus drivers hide behind, your naivety is busy plugging up the bus entrance. All those Londoners who were Oyster-ready have to wait to get on the bus because of you and your ridiculous questions - and they've already waited for the bus. London is not about waiting - it's about now, now, now people.
3. Press the stop bell more than once
As a nation, we no longer deliver capital punishment, although many Londoners have reconsidered its use when faced with someone who leans on the bell button on the bus - or even worse, keeps pressing it for 'fun'. Being thrown over speed-bumps while avoiding the drips of ice cream from the child next to you and then having to listen to a continuous bus-bell soundtrack is worse than listening to 'Let It Go' on repeat for the fortieth time while trying to make a Jamie Oliver recipe. It's stressful.
4. Have a suitcase
The unwritten rule of the bus network is that you should never bring anything larger than a handbag on a bus. Of course, huge buggies and screaming children are allowed but that cabin-sized wheelie suitcase... what were you thinking? As soon as you crash through the door with your rush-hour elegance and start wheeling that monstrosity down the aisle, the other passengers will recoil with horror. Just the sound of luggage wheel on bus floor will evoke even more disgust than a bus driver discovering a secret nail painter on his wagon.
5. Wear headphones
People can get annoyed with the music coming through your headphones, but that's not the reason you shouldn't wear them. Your ears must remain free of plugs because there is basically a soap opera going on around you and you won't want to miss a moment.
6. Go on the upper deck
You might make it up there okay, but coming down the stairs on the bus is like standing on a power-plate on its highest setting. It's jarring. Bits you didn't even know could wobble, wobble. Hold onto whatever happens to be nearest: the stair rail, a child, someone's scarf. It is a battle of epic proportions, fighting the bus staircases of London. You would have thought they'd have put escalators in by now, but then again, the newer buses don't even have opening windows. Also, if you sit on the upper deck you can't do that thing where you try and catch a glimpse of yourself in the CCTV feed.
7. A fashion shoot
Because you could never compete with this woman who is owning bus fashion.
If you rather take the Underground, read seven things you must never do on a tube and nine sneaky tube shortcuts only Londoners should know.