Friday, 14 December 2007

The Pariah Dogs

I don't think JPT would have minded what I turned up in, but my OH has Standards (and as you probably all know by now, I don't). As he was taking the day off so I could go to London I did feel a bit of compromise was called for... and had forgotten how warm London is in comparison to the Midlands. So, I wore the one smart coat, with a few dog biscuits sneaked into it, none of which were needed as I saw no animals and the only birds were pigeons.

It was the first time I had been into the new, refurbished and clean St Pancras. For years now going into St Pancras has been a case of being shunted out to the furthest depths of the platforms, followed by a mammoth trek to the underground, and what I was hoping for most was being able to draw into St Pancras proper, and not be shunted off somewhere far distant to make room for international travellers. St Pancras has always been "my" station, and there were all those iconic things about the journey that meant you were getting near London: the long tunnel, the gas holders, and then the wonderful station with its soaring roof and the giant clock.

The tunnel is still there, but only one gas holder remains (at least there's one - I'm grateful for that), and you do, thank the Lord, come into St Pancras proper. And I think they've done a really good job. I could have forgiven just about anything else as long as the trains came into the station proper, but it's wonderful. I loved the Betjeman statue - and can anyone look at it without following his gaze to see what he's looking at - and the pale blue ironwork works surprisingly well. I liked the enormous scale of the bronze statue of the lovers meeting .

When I saw the statue I thought goodness, I must have met someone like that in all the years I've been using this station, but I don't think I ever have: even when I had boyfriends who lived the other side of London I always went to meet them on their turf, and never them on mine. But if it came to it, I'd prefer to meet by the Betjeman statue anyway, because it is fun. And it is also quite near to the champagne bar. Alcohol is something I don't much like, generally, but I do like champagne. The really tragic thing about the bar though is that it has those raised chairs and counters. I was talking about this with my husband, as we rather fancied the idea of meeting at the statue and then having champagne, but the romance of the moment would, we thought, be rather wrecked by my needing a few minutes to recover from the chairs as they put too much pressure on my arthritic hips. Romance is a little different when you're in your forties...

1 comment:

Gillian said...

St Pancras is the station I arrive at too, and I like it. The last time I was there was last summer, when a lot of the work was being done, so it was a mess. I'm looking forward to seeing it in all it's glory, and pleased that regulat trains still enter the main station.
With Eurostar now at St Pancras, I could probably travel by rail from Sheffield to Paris more quickly than I can get from Sheffield to Norwich by coach. I'm rather tempted to try it.