Thursday 14 December 2023

Train time

“Have you brought anything to drink, Ronald?”

“Er, no. I forgot.”

What was I thinking? It’s a four-hour journey. I’m usually so well-prepared.

“You can get something at the Albert Heijn right next to the London platform.”

“That’s a good idea.”

We enter the appropriate passage under the tracks. And find a different shop where the Albert Heijn should be. Bum. We’ve taken the wrong passage. And have already gone through the ticket barriers. What to do now?

“I’ll go and look in one of the other passages. You stay here and look after the luggage. What do you want?”

“A half litre of diet cola.”

“Don’t you want any beer?”

I hadn’t even thought of that. “Get me a couple of cams of strong Lager, if they have it.”

A few minutes later, K. reappears with two cans of Gulpener Gladiator, the street drinker’s beer of choice. Perfect.

You’re told to turn up an hour before departure. For all the passport and security crap. The fun bits of travel.

There’s a bit of the queue. Nothing that takes too long, thankfully. Then it’s just a case of hanging around until the train boards. I manage to grab myself a seat. I wouldn’t want to be standing around for an hour.

“At least we’re leaving on time.” I tell the doors close.

I speak too soon. The train remains immobile. After a while there’s an announcement of a “technical issue” with the train. Great. Luckily it only takes 20 minutes to fix.

The train isn’t full. Yet. I know from last time that will change the closer we get to London. We’d best enjoy the space while we can.

Speaking of cans, I crack one open. And get stuck into Private Eye. I really need to catch up. I’m currently more than six months behind. Not good.

Quite a few more passenger get on in Rotterdam. The only other stop in Holland.

Our seats aren’t great. We don’t really have a window, just a tiny sliver of one. It’s hard to tell where the hell we are.

I didn’t just forget to bring drinks. I also neglected to make sandwiches for the trip. Really dozy of me.

“Would you like to have one of mine?” K. asks, very generously.

“Yes, please.” I reply shamelessly. Very nice, it is. Healthy, too, with all salad and shit. Much better than mine would have been. Just cheese and tomato or some crap like that.

When we leave Brussels, every seat is taken. And I have just one can left.

“It’s a shame we can’t see out of a window.” I say while we’re in the Chunnel.


“Because we can’t see the fish.”

“Very funny. And thanks for reminding me that we’re underwater.”

It really is pretty boring travelling through the tunnel. They missed a trick by not including windows so you could watch the fish.

There’s a mob rushing for the exit by the time we get off the train. Fuck me, it’s long. I think another train was nailed on in Brussels.

Euston Road is as busy as ever. It’s always such fun to walk along. Especially if it’s been raining and buses are splashing through puddles.

We’re not going far. As we’re dropping by the Euston Flyer for a restorative pint. Despite it only being 16:00, it’s quite full. With a few Christmas parties. We manage to find ourselves a couple of seats, though.

“I don’t need to ask what you want, do I?”


A pint of London Pride, obviously. It’s her favourite English beer. What am I going to have, though? There wasn’t any ESB last time I was here.

I’m so in luck. Real luck. They’ve London Porter. No way I’m missing out on that. Been ages since I last had it on cask.

As we’re both a bit peckish. But, not being as rich as Nazis, we only order the one meal. Fish and chips. A bit mean with the chips, but a decent bit of fish.

We only stay for the two pints. We need to check into our hotel. Then on to the supermarket for food and stuff. Cheese and onion sandwiches. And hotel whisky. Can’t forget that. Salt and vinegar crisps, too. Scotch eggs All the classic English stuff. Cider for K..

“We could have a pint in here.” K. suggests as we pass the Marquis Cornwallis on the way back.

I’m not going to say no to the chance of a pint.

It’s pretty full. More Christmas parties. But, as it’s past 20:00, after work events are starting to break up. And we can grab some vacated seats.

“What do you want?” I ask K., though I already know the answer.

“A pint of nice Bitter, please.”

As they’ve Landlord on, that’s a pretty easy request to fill. I get myself one, too.

“How is it?” I ask.

“Very nice.”

That’s a relief. I wouldn’t want to piss her off with some grapefruity concoction.

We don’t hang around too long. There’s a cheese and onion sandwich with my name on it. And the cheapest whisky money can buy. Cheap sandwich, cheap booze and crisps. The ideal diet.

A bit of internet fiddling and it’s off to bed. I wouldn’t want to miss my buffet breakfast, would I?

Coming by train is so much more relaxing than flying, Other than Euston Road. That’s stress city.

The Euston Flyer
83-87 Euston Rd.,
London NW1 2RA,

The Marquis Cornwallis
31 Marchmont St,
London WC1N 1AP. 


Bernardo said...

Not far from the station, there is a place called Euston Tap that I believe you like.

Best regards, from a not avid enough reader, and enjoy a trip.


John said...

My usual choice of proper pub round Kings Cross St. Pancras is King Charles I Real pub, but with a selection of beers. Always been good when I've been there.

Ron Pattinson said...


that's a new one for me. Looks good, though.

InSearchOfKnowledge said...

We like the Marquis Cornwallis, just across the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury. There are actually a whole bunch of nice pubs in the vicinity there.

qq said...

+1 to the King Charles if you're around St Pancras/KX - a Proper Pub, but also the only pub I've ever been to that had a string quartet jam session...