‘Who needs the Olympics or The Hunger Games when you have London St Pancras!’ I said, witnessing a display of immeasurable speed and agility by passengers attempting to board the 11.00 train.
My husband and I watched in awe as Young Asian Family were pipped to the post by The Dylans who secured a gold medal, followed by Single White Female, who won a respectable Bronze. Each of them with seconds to spare, dashed through the barriers, just making the train in time. Any later and Single White Female would have lost her bag, or worse, her foot in the door. It could have been carnage. You’d have thought that the mass of curly hair the father and son duo The Dylans had would have created some resistance to the air as they flew by everyone else, but no. Just goes to show what the non-athletic Brits can do. It’s little wonder our athletes are doing so well this summer.
The athletics marked the end to what had been an eventful morning; with killer crowds, Peppermint Tea Lady and an abandoned suitcase… Sigh! Need I say more…?
Everywhere, people were frantic; fighting through the crowds, queuing, screaming, stopping in mid walk so everyone behind tripped over their suitcases. We were desperately trying to avoid a human pile up and failing.
‘I do like people watching, even if it’s a bit mad.’ said my husband.
‘Me too, but I keep getting my rucksack knocked. They’re gunning for me today!’
After the initial fight to get into the train station, we decided to eat breakfast at Pret. As we shuffled forwards in the queue to get much-needed choccy croissants, it became obvious that the suitcase next to us was unloved and alone. I looked around and then asked the man in front of me if it belonged to him. He responded with a slow, slightly uninterested shake of his head,’No, not mine luv.’
Soon word spread and everyone began looking around in a meerkat watching for predators kind of way. As time passed, more of us caught on to the fact that this huge – and I mean huge suitcase was now standing in the middle of the floor on its own. How could anyone misplace that! It’s the size of the Titanic! Okay, okay, maybe we should tell the manager– clearly no one’s coming for it! After a few minutes the manager was alerted and the suitcase whisked away somewhere. Don’t they normally have to evacuate and conduct a controlled explosion? Obviously not!
Thankfully I was spared the agony of the “run or choccy croissant, run or choccy croissant” scenario, which I don’t think my nerves or my stomach could have taken.
Then came Peppermint Tea Lady.
Right after the suitcase incident, Pret staff shouted down the queue of suddenly zombified customers, ‘Who wants coffees, teas…?’. Before my poor husband could even inhale enough breath to speak, a shrill voice from behind him shattered the air, ‘Peppermint tea! Peppermint tea!’ Okay– steady on love– it’s not the apocalypse. You have plenty of time!
My husband by this point was more than slightly annoyed. ‘I feel invisible,’ he said. Which is no mean feat. With his mass of curly hair, much like The Dylans and a tall, broad frame, he’s hard to ignore.
As we moved to the front of the queue we watched Peppermint Tea Lady find a table, sit down and stir her drink. ‘Yeah, she looks like a Peppermint Tea Lady.’ I said, folding my arms.
Now, to be honest, they don’t really have a look, but she was just one of those holier than though people. You know the sort; clenched buttocks, both feet firmly planted on the ground and nose in the air with no emotion apart from a deep hatred of anyone a little overweight, with a choccy croissant clasped firmly in their hands.
Anyway, we found a seat, ate, drank our coffee, then boarded our train, both confirming to each other that we were Country Bumkins now, and returning to live in London might not be the best course of action.
Now, I do love London, in small doses. You get a real sense of life, albeit, a little frantic. You can also find some great inspiration for characters and stories when observing people and trying to get inside their heads. We do it all the time. Perhaps we’re a bit weird…who knows, but it’s a useful and entertaining exercise.
At home we recovered and then discussed another possible trip to the Big Smoke. Well…what can I say, you can’t keep a story junkie down for long.
Don’t forget, you can follow my story junkie tales and ramblings by email/Wordpress and Networked Blogs. You’ll find the links on the right-hand side of my main page. I’ve also recently published some short stories with Cafe Three-Zero, the links to which follow this post.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment about your own experiences of character or story development.
Cafe Three Zero books:-
Tales From The Cafe: Vol 1
RED, Tales From The Cafe: Vol 2