Wednesday, 25 June 2014

St Pancras - not really famous and no match for Luton Airport.

Terry meets Julie at Waterloo Sation every Friday night, Harry Potter met the Weasleys at King's Cross to go to Hogwarts, Paddington Bear was found at one of the other stations but not, definitely not, St Pancras.
image of London station
St Pancras station was chosen as the gateway to Europe and £millions were spent expanding and upgrading it, much of the architecture is award-winning, some of the integrated ideas are innovative as well as functional.

As a traveller, clutching my executive class ticket and weekend luggage, I arrived at check-in/passport control - a bit busy but it only took ten minutes to reach the front of the queue. Then the awakening... where were all those spacious areas so prevalent in photographs on the internet? The waiting area was one enormous sardine can! There were very few seats and from what I could see, they were all uncomfortable stone-like structures. That was the moment of realisation - airport departure lounges are not so bad after all, even Luton.

That said, the train journey knocked spots off most flights. I would rather travel to Paris or Brussels using this mode of transport than most commercial flights - and the stations are in the heart of each city, not a few miles outside.

So, never mind not being literarily famous (yet) St Pancras, just get those soft seats installed and sort out the crowd issues. Thanks.

Friday, 13 June 2014

"Up North" with funny men

There is a distinct theme of 'funny men' on a trip to the North of England. Staying in Cumbria, you can visit Morecambe, home of Eric whose statue graces the promenade between the road and the beach, which borders the enormous Morecambe bay.

There's a well-known anecdote about Morecambe and Wise sharing a bed in their comedy sketches, something like "if it's good enough for Laurel and Hardy then it's good enough for us". Just a few miles across the bay is Ulverston, the birthplace of Stan Laurel. Of course, there is a Laurel and Hardy statue in the town plus a museum, complete with free film shows - a must-see for young children as well as their great-grandparents.

Not sure if Mr McGregor counts as a funny man but he can often be seen sitting on a bench outside a cottage close to the home of Peter Rabbit creator, Beatrix Potter.

Nothing funny springs to mind about Carnforth, although it is enjoyable to mooch around the station, famous for David Lean's "Brief Encounter" film starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Cumbria, Lancashire and the Lake District are full of interest for visitors who should plan for damp, cloudy weather (even in mid-summer) and enjoy any sunshine as a bonus!