It was raining in earnest today with no sign of an early cessation. We were determined to go for a walk, however, and set out bravely. Here I will let you into a little secret: Tigger has an app on her phone that counts how many steps she has taken during the day and she has fixed a daily minimum amount. This is good because it ensures that we go for at least one good walk each day.
As you can see, it had been raining for some time and it was best to avoid walking near the road because of the risk of being splashed by passing vehicles.
Plenty of traffic
We walked down Pentonville Road where there were plenty of vehicles to do the splashing, especially buses with their broad tyres.
Walking down Pentonville Road in the rain
Here were are walking down Pentonville Road, heading for King’s Cross and St Pancras Stations. We promised ourselves coffee in the dry as a reward.
The Victorian Gothic Station
Here we are arriving in view of St Pancras Station, a Victorian Gothic marvel that was very nearly stolen from us by vandal developers who wished to demolish it. Happily, it survived and long may it continue to do so.
A glimpse of King’s Cross Departures
We walked round the periphery of King’s Cross Station without going inside. I took this quick-glimpse photo of the Departures building.
We entered St Pancras Station by the entrance nearest Eurostar Departures. As the photo shows, it was eerily quiet. Though services are running, the frequency of trains is low compared with pre-Covid days. The only train showing on the departures board was the 16:31 to Paris.
I bought some books
On arrival, because I had been disappointed with the books I had borrowed from the library, Tigger suggested a visit to Hatchard’s bookshop in the station. We had bought French books there before. I went a little mad and bought four, shown above. Fortunately, they are part of the Waterstine’s chain and our Waterstone’s loyalty card had some credit in it which took some of the sting out of the cost.
A corner in EN&L Cafe
For coffee, we went to an establishment called EN&L Cafe. They have tables outside (though within the station building) but also some two-person booths inside. We sat in one of these. For a treat, we also had croissants.
Two views inside St Pancras Station
After our coffee break, Tigger proposed continuing our walk but doing so inside the station. The complex is big enough for this to make sense and there are several different areas accessible without tickets.
We passed by Pret A Manger which has an indoor “terrace” for customers and…
A view from the escalator
…we took the escalator to the upper floor from where I took this photo showing the magnificent vaulted roof.
Upper-level ticket barriers and platforms
We have started many journeys from here when travelling to northern destinations. Perhaps we will do so again if and when Covid can be brought under control.
Sir John Betjeman
Martin Jennings, 2007
Here, on the level, stands a statue of Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, his privileged position in the midst of the station being in honour of his support in saving this beautiful and historic Grade I listed building from destruction.
Shhh, you know who…!
As I haven’t included a self-portrait lately, I though you might be amused by this, slightly unflattering, view of yours truly, checking the sculpture’s details.
The Meeting Point
We also paid a visit to a rather different work of art, the huge pair of lovers called The Meeting Point by Paul Day. Around the base of the main sculpture is a set of small reliefs showing scenes related to travel by train and Underground. One of these vignettes seems particularly popular.
Homeless person and dog
Photo by Tigger
This small artwork-within-an-artwork depicts an elderly homeless person carrying her possessions in bags and, nearby, a seated dog. It’s not clear whether they are travelling together or have been momentarily brought in proximity by chance. How do I know the group is popular? Because they, and particularly the dog, are shiny from being touched by people’s hands.
St Pancras Station courtyard
We left the station by the courtyard and made our way back towards King’s Cross Station and the bus stop in front of it. Yes, Tigger had checked her app and found that she had completed the requisite number of steps for today, meaning that we were justified in taking the bus back!
On the 214 back to the Angel