Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What do you expect from someone whose fictional hero boards planes by harpooning them from the ground?

Home from my ski-ing trip, only slightly bashed and sunburned, to be greeted by this piece by Anthony Horowitz in the Guardian. While I agree that the whole Terminal Five affair seems to havebeen a disaster, it was as I neared the end of his article that I was filled with a desire to murder the smug London-centric bastard:

The real "21st-century gateway" that opened this year did so at St Pancras, and it did so with enormous style and comfort. All of Europe is suddenly available and I can reach it in less time than my bags reached me.

Well, lucky you, Mr Horowitz. For those of us not lucky (or unlucky) enough to live close to London, the St. Pancras "gateway" is as much an irrelevance as the Channel Tunnel has always been. We have just had a week ski-ing in Courchevel. We flew with EasyJet from Edinburgh to Geneva (2.5 hours), and then continued by hired car (about another 3.5 hours - less on the way back). Leaving out time we deliberately spent en route sightseeing in Annecy and so on, our journey took about six hours, for four people and a carload of skis and other luggage. All our luggage arrived, and so did we (delayed by about 15 minutes on the way back).

To use Horowitz's wonderful "gateway"would take around four hours from Edinburgh to get to St Pancras in the first place. If we were lucky we would have seats, but how our luggage would accompany us heaven only knows, as the pitiful space provided on the trains would leave the skis and snowboard blocking about three rows of seats and a gangway. Then we could lug it all off and put it onto another train (and I bet the luggage provision would be no better). Finally, after a further, what, two and a half hours, we could get off in Paris, haul all the stuff across town on the metro to a different station, and spent a further few hours (and hundred more Euros) transporting people and luggage to Geneva, where we could pick up a car (sorry, Mr H, Courchevel isn't on the railway) only, ooh, twelve hours or so later than we would have got there by plane, and about three hundred times more tired and ragged.

"21st century gateway" my arse, unless you live in Islington and want to nip over for a quick weekend in Brussels. OK if you make your living writing James Bond-lite fantasies for children. Those of us living in the real world (remember us? there is sentient life north of Hatfield) and wishing to visit other parts of same (not just the major cities of Belgium and northern France) and who have more luggage than a laptop, more companions than a secretary, and who are footing our own travel bills? We'll just stick with air travel, thanks. You know, from all those other airports and with all those other airlines Anthony Horowitz seems not to know about.


At 31 March, 2008 19:33, Blogger Udge said...

What, are there people in the UK who don't live in Islington? ;-)

At 01 April, 2008 02:31, Blogger Rob said...

I must admit that once upon a time my postcode was N5 1XL (a Frisbee chuck from Islington Central Library). That's 29 years and four addresses ago now though.


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