A dog whistle has sounded across Europe and the tourists are gathering. Overnight London has shaken off its calm, quasi-depressive commuter-ville lifestyle in favour of the mania of mobs of teens escaped from home.

London tourists
'Tourists are welcome to our crazy weather, veering so fast between sun and rain even we can't keep up'iStock / Junghee Choi

We're not Ukip, so everyone's very welcome with smiles and hesitant words and appreciation of the city we forget to love. Welcome to photograph the things that we barely see.

Welcome to the cafes, boats, parks and museums. Welcome to our crazy weather, on cue, veering between sunny, fetid days and torrential rain so fast even we who have always lived here can't keep up.

But, look, there is this thing. A small matter. Just something we'd like to mention, very politely and using too many words, as us British are inclined to do.

A safe haven

Everyone knows that London is an inhumanly busy place. We're all hankering after moments when no one asks anything of us. Strangely, our commutes are those moments.

When I worked at ad agency BBDO we actually did global research into daily rituals and were amazed at the consistency of the finding that journeys to and from work – as long as nothing goes wrong – are really important moments of stillness in frantic lives.

When we're wedged against sweating strangers we are free to read, listen and headroll while dribbling down our own faces.

That jam-packed, stinking, terrifying tube you are barging onto, fearing certain separation, loss and death... That is our calm space. Yes, I know, we're crazy. While you mutter that in your country no one would transport cattle like this, we're relishing our least interrupted moments of the day.

Our commute is where we daydream about London things. Houses with gardens, houses with spare rooms, houses with coat cupboards and houses near good schools. We're not a complicated lot. We know what we want.

In the guidebooks tube etiquette is about standing on the right and walking on the left and minding the gap. Charming and true and utterly missing the point.

Leave us be

London underground
'Our commute is where we daydream about London things'istock/ liorpt

What we really need is for everyone underground to act like they're in a cathedral. At a funeral. Walking at a modest, even pace, making no eye contact, whispering if communication is essential.

No pushing, no angst, no panic.

Leave us be while we're sleep walking to our favourite door, waiting for others to get off, scuttling into our favourite side of the carriage, wedged securely against the divider, listening to something we love and reading something deliciously trivial in Metro.

On a smooth February morning even the busiest tube stations can look choreographed. A flock of dozy commuters on autopilot that could be set to music in a David Attenborough documentary.

Don't wake us up or we'll be forced to live up to the worst of our reputation, and growl at you and your suitcases the size of the flats we can't afford to own.

Christine Armstrong is a contributing editor of Management Today, author of Power Mums (interviews with high-profile mothers) and founder of www.villas4kids.com. She can be found on Twitter at @hannisarmstrong.