I don’t get to go to Paddington Station very often at the moment. A shame as I love it in my borderline country bumpkin way.
I love the architecture of it and the grandeur. You really don’t get that at Swansea train station (it’s a dump) and my other favourite train station: Manchester Piccadilly is too new looking and shiny. Paddington looks old and wonderful.
It’s constantly a hive of activity. Usually a hive of near abusive commuters who would probably walk over you if they needed to. There’s the downtrodden looking station staff who again secretly (and not so secretly) hate you. Most of them I end up pitying because they look so miserable. I can only remember one member of staff who smiled at me. He seemed really happy to everyone, but the other staff still sneered at him.
I still love it though. It makes me realise I’m in a ‘proper’ city where everyone’s too busy to care about the slightly lost looking person from South Wales. The best part is when I’m stuck and need to ask a question, I get treated with even more disdain because of my South East English accent which automatically makes them assume that I should know what I’m doing. Not their fault that I’ve lived in Wales for over 20 years and I’m a complete tourist in London these days.
I have a set routine at Paddington when I have an hour to kill. I don’t tend to leave the station but I like peering out from the entrances to the metropolis. I’m within walking distance of Edgware road, an area that I used to know very well when good relatives of mine lived near there. But I’d rather not go. I’m pretty sure I’d like to keep my rose tinted views of it from over 10 years ago than see the reality. For now at least. One day I’ll go back.
Instead I stay within the safety of the station. I wander around the various overpriced food places that I never see anywhere else. The idea of a sushi place seems like madness round my way and even the Burger King is £2 more a meal than in Swansea! I wander around the M&S Food place for a bit contemplating a ‘healthy’ lunch. I don’t bother. I hang around between the cash machines and the Orange shop, phoning my Mum to let her know I’m fine, then texting a few friends.
Eventually hunger gets the better of me and I go mad. I always end up getting Burger King despite mentally complaining about the price. Always a Chicken Royale with Cheese meal. Then I go back to the seats between the cash machines and the Orange Shop and eat it.
In Swansea (which sounds more and more bumpkinish) we don’t have a Millie’s Cookies or a Krispy Kreme. I end up spending a fortune at both. Usually buying £5 worth of cookies and a huge box of Krispy Kremes. The first time I went to Krispy Kreme I made the guy at the stall laugh. I was completely bewildered at the choices on offer and couldn’t decide. I had a friendly chat with him and eventually he helped me choose so I had a good variety of types.
I’m more experienced with Millie’s Cookies having regularly gone there at Manchester Piccadilly when I visited my then boyfriend. I love the cookies far too much.
Invariably I have an awkward 3hr journey home. Trying to cram in a box of Millie’s Cookies along with a box of Krispy Kremes. I look like someone desperate for diabetes.
I can see why London gets old for those living there, especially Paddington. But I love it, and its potential. It’s somewhere I’d love to go to more often. Once upon a time I’d go every few weeks to stay at the relatives. Much less touristy experience and I still loved it.