The deadline for the delivery is 5:30 pm so we can make a leisurely start and take the 9:25 Sheffield train. We left home just after 8 am and walked to Kings Cross where we breakfasted in the Station Cafe.
At 9 am we went up the escalator at St Pancras and joined the gaggle of people waiting for trains to Sheffield and Nottingham. There are four platforms here and the game is to guess which one is yours and get to the train while everyone else is still staring at the departures board waiting for the platform number to show. (See top picture.)
Joining the game we rushed ahead of the crowd to be first into a nice empty carriage: We won! We won! Childish but fun. The carriage soon filled up of course, but that doesn’t matter.
The day is grey though it hasn’t rained yet. Seasoned day-trippers, we have rain jackets just in case. It is also a little cool but experience suggests it will warm up later.
The train has sped through lesser stations like Kentish Town and Mill Hill and will make its first stop at Luton. The next stop after that will be Leicester, home of the red cheese.
Until then we can relax and watch the world stream past the window.
We reached Leicester without incident and took a cab to the client’s address as this was some way away from the station. The receptionist was very professional and gave us a receipt showing the time of delivery without being asked. It would be good if all were this efficient.
Now the pressure was off, we took a leisurely bus ride back to town centre. First impressions of Leicester were not favourable. Much of it is in the process of being dug up and built on. Often this obstructs traffic, both motor and pedestrian. If the result improves the city it will be worth it and I will suspend judgement until then.
This ugly construction, looking like a piece of dirty polythene packing material, is an example of the worst aspects of the town. It always amazes me that architects apparently design buildings that are good at catching dirt and grime.
Along with modern “fish tank” buildings, there were nevertheless one or two that caught my attention, and some charming details that Tigger’s quick eye discovered.
This detail tops the facade of a vegetarian Indian restaurant. It was now just after midday, a little early for lunch after a solid breakfast, but we decided to give it a whirl. If you know Leicester, you may recognize the restaurant, but I am not naming it because we were not altogether happy with the food or standard of service. The staff were pleasant and well meaning but slow.
Continuing into the centre we saw a further selection of interesting buildings. Need I say that these were all *old* buildings, buildings designed by architects of the 19th and early 20th century who had an eye for beauty and harmony, an eye sadly not possessed by most moderns.
One amusing discovery was this mobile bench complete with litter bin! Do you hail it a it passes or wait until one parks somewhere near you?
We went for a look at the open market and there came upon John Henry, Duke of Rutland, apparently preparing to take a ride on top of an AA van!
Some other sights: the market and…
…the town clock.
It turns out that Thomas Cook, of Cook’s Tours fame, was a son of Leicester and his very first organized tour went from here, all the way to… Loughborough.
In the afternoon, it came on to rain, so we took shelter by exploring the shops. Even though we didn’t buy anything, it was fun and gave us some ideas for future purchases for our tiny flat.
After this, the best move seemed to be to make for the station, and take the train home.
While we were making our way through the town, Tigger received a phone call from base: another tender needs delivering by our intrepid special courier. So on Monday, we are off to Northampton. But don’t put a pin on the map for us yet in case there is another Cambridge.