Here and There

How fast is fast, when it comes to trains?

One day Jay took us into St. Pancras Railway Station, to show off its grand refurbishing. And it is certainly impressive to a country boy from PA.

The glass roof, supported by steel arching beams painted pale blue, rises to a great height, which was needed in the old days of the “puffer-belly” engines and still stands today. Travelers from all over come and go because in addition to accomodating the local England trains, this station is the starting point for Eurostar, Britian’s high-speed train to Paris and Belgium. High-speed means 185 mph. The train travels underground beneath London, then above ground, and then underground again beneath the English Channel.

The sides of the station, in the brick archways underneath the St. Pancras Hotel, are filled with restaurants and top-level stores. I went into a shirt and tie shop and found classy striped dress shirts for $105 each. I bought two of them for myself and charged them to my friend Bob Sheetz, who appreciates fine things, as all who know him realize so well.

On another occasion we walked through part – and I do mean, only a part – of Westfield, the ultra-modern mall in West London, largest mall in Europe, just opened six weeks ago. No surprise to anyone, De Beers diamond company has a store here. We saw a pair of earrings for $12,600. Since I recently had seen quality shirts at St. Pancras, I checked them out here, too, and found them originally priced at $172, conviently marked down to a mere $90. Though this is clearly a London bargain, I decided perhaps I have enough shirts for the moment.

Is that opera singing I hear?

On another day we made a brief stop at world-famous and world-class Harrods store, which fills a city block, seven floors of opulence piled on top of opulence.

In the Egyptian escalator tower (decorated with architecture and art imitating ancient Egypt, a female opera singer was standing in a balcony, singing classical opera to a full-orchestra background recording. Shoppers stopped, surprised and transfixed, and when she had finished, they applauded. From a store associate, or whatever they are properly called in such an over-the-top establishment, we learned that such opera pieces are sung here every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was glad we happened in on the right day.

And what is this?

p1010400

Still in Harrods, in a room devoted to porcelain objects produced by the Spanish firm Lladro, we were drawn to this figurine of Cinderella’s coach and horses, and were dazed by the price of $27,000.

If you are still reading this blog, and in the unlikely event that a disclaimer is needed, I did not charge any expensive shirts to my friend Bob, and certainly not to myself.

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