Stump Watch St Pancras 2

Well, that was quick.  The Lego tree at St Pancras is now in its full majesty and lit up like the fleet.  As you can probably tell from the picture, it must be one of the most photographed trees in existence, though I like to think I was one of the first to capture it in its formative stages.  Perhaps one day I shall be able to say the same about our own dear Stump.  

I surmised the other day that the tree might be the work of the folk in the branch of Hamley’s at St Pancras.  Not so, according to the Evening Standard.  Apparently, it was “made by children from Edith Neville Primary School, Camden and Copenhagen Primary School Islington as well as the Harpenden Explorer Scouts Unit” (perhaps the Explorer Scouts were the ones who scaled the summit of the tree – SAS-style – in the final stages of its construction) and “created by Duncan Titmarsh of Bright Bricks, the UK’s only certified Lego Professional” (a career there for any young person to aspire to).

So it’s Hats Off and Mince Pies All Round to all involved!

Incidentally I have, once again, risked my liberty to bring you this story.  Moments after I’d taken a snap of the tree from the “upper concourse” an announcement came over the Tannoy that flash photography was Strictly Prohibited on the platform and the station concourse.  Why this is, I’m not sure.  I suppose it might be distracting to a driver if a flash went off as he was arriving into the station.  Or, perhaps, there is a danger that one of the armed police one often sees at St P might mistake a camera flash for an explosion and rake the platform with sub-machine gun fire, or, at best, wrestle me to the ground and electrocute me.

Rather disconcertingly, immediately after this incident, I found myself sharing a table on the train home with three (very amiable) policemen.  

It’s a police state, I tell you!  What about Magna Carta! etc. 

Stump Watch St Pancras

I see the authorities at St Pancras seem to have adopted my patented Stump Watch programme (without so much as a by your leave!).

The scene on Monday –  

on Tuesday –

and today –

They must be using an awful lot of fertiliser …


(Actually, Lego – perhaps provided by the nearby branch of Hamley’s.  Rather a nice idea.)

A Sparkling Christmas at St Pancras

All manner of Christmas jollity at St Pancras Station this week –

“A sparkling Christmas at St Pancras” – and free champagne!


But don’t get too carried away!

Please do not climb on the Christmas tree.

All bottles are empty for the purpose of the display.

Anyone found tampering with the tree may be prosecuted and CCTV is in operation.

Thank you

Well thank you too, and a Merry Christmas to one and all.

Too green? John Betjeman at St Pancras

I would just like to announce that this blog has now entered a new era, and has taken a further step along the road to becoming a true Multi-Media Experience.  I have managed to acquire a digital camera (by inheritance from my daughter) so readers had better brace themselves for a brief, Toad-like outbust of enthusiasm for photography.  It’s the only thing, you know, and, of course, so much less effort than actually writing something.  At present, I am roughly to the world of photography what Cyril Smith is to the modelling of skinny jeans, but perhaps I shall improve with practice.

Anyway, here is my first photograph –

John Betjeman at St Pancras

 This, as you will observe, is the much-lauded statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras Station.  My normal route out of the station doesn’t take me past this, but occasionally – when the elevators are broken – it does and my point is that every time I pass him he seems to get greener and greener.  I’m sure he didn’t look quite like this when the statue was new.

I believe this is because the statue is made of bronze, which is largely made of copper, which – as we know from looking at lightning conductors on the spires of churches – turns green when it oxidises – but quite how green is he going to get?  He did write –

“Little, alas, to you I mean

For I am old and bald and green.”

But surely not this green?

(Incidentally, this will have to count as my contribution to the celebration of St Patrick’s Day).


Have they not heard of Dura-glit?

This is the night train: a commercial break (featuring Audrey Tautou)

Thinking of things no-one else likes but I do (see Glorious ’39 – “I’d give it a wide berth if I were you – The Harborough Mail”) I am rather fond of the perfume adverts you get on the telly in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  I do appreciate that they appear at this time of year to persuade people to buy as Christmas presents the overpriced but still affordable products that enable the major fashion houses to continue producing their otherwise completely unfeasible haute couture collections, but I still look forward to their annual appearance.

My favourite this Christmas  is this one – for Chanel no. 5 (featuring Audrey Tautou):

She was wise, I feel, to choose the Orient Express to Istanbul rather than the Eurostar to St. Pancras, though – having said that -St. Pancras would have offered her faster connection times to Market Harborough, not to mention an excellent selection of quality pies and pastries, and two branches of W.H. Smith & Sons.

Odd how corridor trains were so conducive to romance,  comedy and thrills – in the cinema at any rate – when the modern arrangement seems so prosaic.  I think the last time I travelled in one was on a day trip from Haringey North to Southend in 1989 (not, I’m afraid, that I can remember any r, c or t occurring on that particular occasion).

PC 49 (extreme edition)

Always take a small, inexplicable  delight in observing someone doing something that – to my mind-  they ought to be doing.   I think by this I mean doing something that they would be doing if they were stock characters in a British film from the 1950s.  Milkmen should always be whistling, for instance.  If I saw a postman having the seat bitten out of his trousers by a dog, I’d be delighted (not that canine postie abuse isn’t a serious issue, of course).

Yesterday, at St. Pancras, saw a policeman (in spite of being kitted out in a high vis jacket and – no doubt – being armed to the teeth with tasers, stun grenades and sub machine guns)  writing with a stubby little pencil in an old-fashioned flipover notebook.  I didn’t notice him licking the pencil before doing so, but I trust he did.  Would have thought they’d have more hi-tech ways of recording their observations these days, though I couldn’t say quite what – don’t suppose Twitter would do the job.

His notes very voluminous – perhaps the raw material for a tell-all copperblog?