It started badly when I took a different exit off the Victoria line at King's Cross and found myself wandering round a part of it I never knew existed. This has been happening a lot of late at the station, which has been massively revamped over recent years - first to accommodate the Eurostar at St Pancras and now with a swanky and rather beautiful new domestic departure hall. Perhaps it says something about King's Cross that one departs in style, but still arrives in the old grimy bit.
Anyway, all this revamping has led to miles of labyrinthine tunnels that all look the same and can end in a myriad of assorted exits. This lends an air of unexpectedness to journeys through King's Cross - even though I have been negotiating it regularly for many years.
|King's Cross St Pancras Hogwarts School of Wizardry|
Harry Potter readers will know he is referring to the Room of Requirement - and this set me off on a new avenue of thought of what I would require should I stumble upon just such a room in King's Cross. Having lately arrived off the 9.06 from Devon, travelled underground across London and walked around the station for some length of time, it will be of no surprise to you that I decided my room of requirement would contain a table laid out for tea, with a large pot, some ginger cake and lump sugar with tongs. (I still enjoy holding the sugar in the tea and trying to find the point where it will absorb the liquid and turn an orange/brown in the tongs. I really should get out more.)
No such room appeared however, so I eventually emerged into the light to discover a whole new station exit and then wandered vaguely round the back streets behind my office for a while before locating the entrance.
Later that night, on the way to my Friday stayover in Brighton, I managed to jump on two wrong trains and ended up spending a long 50 minutes on a platform. By this time I was feeling tired, stupid and fed up – I like to feel part of the purposeful moving mass in London, not dotty, lost and late. So if that room of requirement does appear, I am fervently hoping it has a younger, more dynamic brain in it.