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Published: December 30th 2019
Kings Cross Station
Huge historic entrance
I’m feeling good because I have my ticket to leave on Thursday and know where to go in St Pancras
to get the Thameslink
train to Gatwick
Not so successful was my foray into the British Library
. Needing a rest after the train journey from Broadstairs, I didn’t arrive at the Library until after 3:30. Renewing my card went quickly, but it did consume time, and the staff person told me that the last book request was at 4:00. Sure enough, I quickly logged on, found an article, had to establish an online account, and was frozen out at 3:58.
Oh well, this afternoon in London was a bonus. Check-in time at the Euro Hotel
was 1:00, so Rosemary and I decided taking a train to arrive then was reasonable. As she had predicted, the train was full, with standing room only after Rochester. I was ok since I got a table seat and could catch up on my travel notes. Walking along the Euston Road
was so familiar it felt like almost a home-coming. The Euro Hotel was the same quiet, welcoming place, and they gave me the same room as last time on the main floor. No hauling luggage – hooray!
St Pancras Station
Victorian meets modern
I took advantage of the hour before the Library’s closing to visit the Treasures Room
. Why was I surprised that it had been reorganized? Four years since I was last here. Now missing is Scott’s last journal on his Antarctic voyage
– a most poignant document, because the last lines trail off just before his death. The range of literary figures have been expanded, at the cost of the musical. Jane Austen’s
display is now a letter to brother Frank placed on her writing box. Charlotte Bronte
is represented by a page of The Tales of Angria
, and Emily Bronte
by The Isle of Gondal
, both juvenile works. The girls used the tiniest writing (maybe 4 point), apparently to save paper and to foil adults. An annotated page from The Years
was exciting, in line with my reading of Virginia Woolf’s
letters and novels lately. Most exciting was a page from De Profundis
by Oscar Wilde
, Simon Callow’s performance at the Fringe Festival. A special display on Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
showed its development from a casual ghost story for a party of friends up to a book about the movie, Bride of Frankenstein
, written by Alberto Manguel
, whom I have met several times.
My appreciation for the historic documents and precious ancient books faded due to personal dehydration. Knowing that I
could get tea at St Pancras, as well as turn my on-line ticket order into a paper ticket for the train, took me back to the station. I did the paperwork first, then visited Boots for a litre bottle of water – so many strange waters throughout this trip are making my digestive system unhappy. Perhaps neutral water will help. As around the world, Starbucks got my money for a very large green tea (2 pounds fifty), because they provide lots of seating and tables.
For dinner I went to my previous favourite, Mabel’s Tavern
. A football game was playing at mega volume. I found a table no one else wanted because the screen was barely visible. Reading my book while eating was mildly amusing, paralleled by a teenager across the room who spent all her time looking at her phone while her parents followed the game. Whenever there was a big roar, I did look up. The fish and chips was a huge portion for a huge price. Guinness eased the fiscal pain and enhanced the flavour. View map of trip.
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