When I arrived at Paddington station this morning, the concourse was filled with people waiting for the underground to open it’s gates again – they close it when the platforms are too congested to avoid danger (believe it or not, people DO fall onto the tracks – although they are very rarely run over). I took one look at the growing crowd, and thought “sod this”. Moments later I was out of the station, walking towards Euston.
To be fair, I had thought of doing this yesterday – and had checked the route on Google Maps to see how long it might take.
There’s something about walking the streets of a city. Granted, you can’t do this in just any old city – but in most cities in England you can – without any fear of either getting mugged, or discovering that there is no walking route. As I made my way along Praed Street, past Edgware Road, and then Baker Street, I passed all sorts of people going about their daily lives. One girl in particular made me smile – with a tall bobble hat, earphones on her ears, and a grin on her face. She bounced as she walked. I wondered why she was so happy – perhaps she was listening to a podcast? Perhaps an audio book? Perhaps it was a funny story being related over the phone ?The walk took about 40 minutes. While wandering along, looking at the buildings, and daydreaming about all sorts of things, I put my earphones in, and chose the Sibelius album I downloaded a while ago – which turned out to be an inspired choice – matching the city bringing itself to life perfectly. I have no idea which exact tracks I listened to, but couldn’t help thinking of the opening of Manhattan, with Rhapsody in Blue.
I’m sitting on the mezzanine above Euston Station now, eating a Cornish Pasty, and watching the world go by. This blog post is being typed into the Kindle via the bluetooth keyboard I threw in my bag last night – I’ve left the laptop at home. I have about ten minutes before I need to head back – I would have had longer, but I wandered around a lot of the station cafes looking for somewhere to sit – this ended up being the best option.
It’s kind of interesting – looking down on the sea of people in the station – either waiting to depart, or waiting for people to arrive. I know their hell only too well – waiting for your train platform to be announced, before trying to get to it first for a long journey if you don’t have a seat allocation. People become immediately rude for about two minutes until they’ve managed to sit down – whereupon they return to “normal”.
A few moments ago a guy with a hoodie stopped by, asking everybody on the mezzanine for change. He’s still trying. I’m going to put the kindle away before he tries to grab it and run. I’m pretty sure if there were any police up here, he wouldn’t be here. I can’t win – if I sit somewhere public to write this, I get beggars hassling me – if I go in a cafe or coffee shop, there’s no way I’ll get a seat anywhere. Maybe I’ll buy lunch in the morning for the rest of the week and sit in the office to write. Ah – but then I don’t have a constant stream of people to watch.
Maybe I’ll just take the paper notebook tomorrow.