The New King's Cross
Ohhh all right then, we don't.
I'm sorry that I haven't blogged for a while because of some difficult things going on which I can't write about here. Then all last week I was away, working in London, learning about Coaching for Health (the students were nine doctors - - and me! There's never been a better time for me to be ill - - but luckily, I wasn't!) and then working on a course with some more doctors.
If you get the train from Leeds to London the station you arrive at is King's Cross. For many years it has been the grimmest of grim stations. The concourse was always too small for the squillions of people squashed together on it. It was surrounded by some dull and tired shops and the whole place had a really sleazy feel to it. Whenever I stood there, waiting for the Leeds train to be allotted a platform, I was expecting to have my pocked picked or my luggage stolen at any moment.
When I was last in London, in early February, the station was at its very worst. I could tell they were building a new concourse off to the left of it, but it was impossible to see what it would be like.
By complete coincidence, the new concourse opened on Monday, which was the day I arrived in London.
I was met off my train by a barrage of people with film cameras, covering the opening of the new station and passengers arriving - I'm sure I must have appeared in most of the evening news bulletins throughout Britain!
Then I went to look at the new concourse and saw this:
A huge, tree-like structure covering the whole ceiling, lit by purple light and surrounded by shops and a balcony.
I loved it - it feels spacious and it's beautiful. Judging by the number of people taking photographs, others loved it too.
They have organised the re-opening well - there are dozens of people waving huge placards in the shape of hands with pointing fingers, to take you round to the new entrance.
At last King's Cross is catching up with the lovely refurbishment of St Pancras next to it.
There are still some problems. On my way home yesterday, the departures board was very late allotting a platform for the train to Leeds (apparently it was because they had to change trains at the last minute). So suddenly, a whole trainload of people were trying to get through the barriers where you have to put your ticket in and then catch it again, and there simply aren't enough barriers for such events.
It would have taken all afternoon to get us all through - - so finally they simply opened all the barriers. Everyone pelted across the station to the correct platform. I was in coach B, at the far end of a very long train, and my speed as I ran to get there, carrying a bag and pulling a little case on wheels, astonished everyone, especially me. I felt very sorry for elderly or disabled people who would find the distances involved impossible in such a rush.
The train left about twelve minutes late eventually - - but we didn't know that this would happen. If they had announced that the train wouldn't be leaving on time we wouldn't have had to do the new Olympic sport of the Kings Cross Hundred Metres Sprint.
However, I had a fascinating week working in London, and the new Kings Cross was definitely an interesting part of it.