Monday, October 29, 2012

King's Cross St. Pancras

Saturdays are my British Library days, my chance to get some research done in peace and quiet.  The Map Room provides this for me, and I've already established myself as a presence there, with a seat next to a framed old map of Cambridgeshire.  With my reader's pass, I can order books and have them delivered to the Map Room ready for when I arrive.  I am not, however, allowed to borrow these books, nor is it possible to take them from the Map Room without written permission.

Last Saturday I arrived at King's Cross St. Pancras station and somehow entered the King's Cross side.  The weekend before I had magically and by accident materialized on the other, St. Pancras, side, where I happily discovered a Foyle's book shop and some reasonable places to eat lunch.  The King's Cross side seems to have pretty good food too.  As I walked out of the station I found that the sky was clear and blue, that it was windy, and that I had neither hat, nor gloves, nor scarf.  I was wearing a warm tweed jacket and raincoat, but I was chilly without a sweater.

Before settling in to the Map Room I acquired a scarf and gloves.  I still felt chilly all day without a hat, which I bought the next day.  I ate lunch for the first time at the British Library, having a chicken pie, green beans and baby potatoes, washed down with strong coffee.  It was delicious, and I credit that meal with helping me stay warm and nourished for most of the remainder of the day.  Last week was my first 'real' week of lecturing and running lab sessions, and 12 hours in class on Thursday and Friday had taken its toll.  After that meal I went from being convinced I was becoming ill to feeling OK again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


These two are linked in my mind because planes fly overhead all the time where I live and sometimes they are so close it seems you could reach out and touch one.  Last night I watched 'Bend it like Beckham' not realizing that the football team 'Jas' plays on in the movie is located near the Hounslow Central tube line.  You see a lot of planes flying low in that movie, true to life, and you get a feel for what it must be like to grow up in an Indian family in London.  Jas's father works at Heathrow so the airport is a distinct presence as well.

Going to get Diane last Saturday I took the Picadilly line to Heathrow (terminal 3) for the first time.  You always see someone who is coming or going from or to the airport when you're on the Picadilly line, but for me it was special because I'd get to see what all the hubbub is about.  When I arrived at Heathrow on the 6th of September I was lucky because I got a ride from my roommate, so wasn't forced to navigate taxis or tubes upon arrival.

Getting off at terminal 3 was somewhat interesting, a little bit chaotic as it seemed that at least half of us had never done this before.  But the signs were easy to read and follow all the way to the terminal at which point the pick up spot was right there in front of me.  I had arrived way too early as I tend to do at airports but secretly I wanted to have a look around too.  Lots of time to move between places, read my book or just space out watching things.  Diane finally came out sometime past 9pm, along with a few others from the Toronto flight.  You can't tell the difference between English and Canadian from looking at them though, so that didn't help.