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It’s great to be on the move again. Much as I’ve enjoyed my time at home it doesn’t take long before I start getting itchy feet!

I’m currently en-route to London but i’m not quite sure what to expect as the weather forecast seems to be mixed to say the least. It was certainly cold when I left Halifax this morning. Despite the sun making every effort to break through the clouds, a chilly wind dispelled any temptation to think it was summer. I was very happy to see my Grand Central service hove into view so I could settle in a lovely warm coach with a coffee and soak up the scenery on the way. The trees along the lineside have really burst into life in the past week. Leaves are appearing at a rapid rate, which is making the areas Network Rail’s been busy clearing really stand out.

Despite claims in the Guardian newspaper that this has somehow been carried out in secret, it’s hard to miss where dozens of trees have vanished! Then again, the clearences have been such a ‘secret’ Network Rail had posted details on their website – as NR Chairman Sir Peter Hendy pointed out on Twitter!

The imminent arrival of summer’s not just evidenced by trees. As we raced down the East Coast Main Line I noticed dozens of bright yellow fields where the rape seed’s flowering. I can see I’m going to be busy with the camera soon…

Right now my train’s flying along the ECML South of Sandy and the closer we get to London the moodier the skies are becoming, so my photographic plans may have to change…

On the bright side, despite the weather warnings, the ECML’s behaving itself and the “knitting” (as the overhead wires are known by many) is staying firmly in place!

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Now i’m passing Hadley Wood and the sky’s gone from moody to leaden! The only colours are in the PPE of the dozens of Network Rail’s ‘team orange’ that we keep passing every few minutes as they carry out a host of trackside assignments.

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‘Tis cold and wet in the capital today, so i’ve not moved far from Kings Cross, just over the road in fact – to St Pancras, one of my favourite stations.

Here’s the statue of Sir John with the latest art installation in the background, this one’s from Tracy Emin. As I was here I thought I should pop into the newly refurbished bar which carries the great man’s name. The Betjeman Bar has undergone its 3rd incarnation since it opened in 2007. Thus time the changes are more cosmetic and less profound. The bar’s stayed in place. Most of the work appears to be confined to tiling areas such as the one opposite the bar, repainting and redecorating. It does look rather smart.

I wandered on down the road to Euston to check out what’s going on with Hs2 building work. As usual, there’s constant change! Footpaths have been moved to allow construction of the temporary taxi rank

Here’s the diverted footpath which cuts along the edge of Euston Sq gardens, forming 2 sides of the square. I might add 30-45 seconds to the journey from Euston to Euston Sq tube but I’ve already seen someone grumbling about the ‘inconvenience’ on Twitter!

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With the weather remaining gloomy and cold I decided to head over to nearby Drummond St (a mini Indian quarter full of great places to eat) to sit and have a meal at an old haunt – Ravi Shankar, an Indian vegetarian restaurant I’ve been frequenting for nearly 30 years.  As it was ‘early doors’ the place was very quiet with just a handful of customers. As is often the case, none of them were local – all were from outside of London. Next to me were two Doctors from the Midlands who’d been on a course at UCH. Besides them were a couple of friends who’d also popped in to eat before catching their train – from Paddington! I couldn’t help cracking a wry smile at this because local anti Hs2 campaigners had made a great fuss about how Drummond St would suffer at the hands of the project, yet it’s clear an expanded Euston station will bring in more business, not less – and it’s not the locals who’re frequenting the place that much anyway. I saw this when the nearby pub the Bree Louise, closed a couple of months ago. Yes, there were some locals in there on the final night, but all those who moan about Hs2 on a regular basis were noticeable by their absence. A few months later there was a minor Twitter furore when a Journalist mentioned the pub had closed. The replies made it obvious none of those who were outraged at the news were regular drinkers at the pub. Funny old world…Anyways, I had a delicious Chana Masala with a couple of chapattis at Ravi’s and enjoyed a few moments to reflect on past times…

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Oh, and admire the stunning wisteria display on the building across the road…

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Sadly, the weather’s never picked up so I’ve found myself caught in Euston’s gravitational pull. Having explored (on a full stomach) I’ve visited another old haunt, the ‘Doric Arch’ pub in Euston station. I’ve not been in here for years as other watering holes like the Bree Louise and Euston Tap took precedence, but the Doric (the former Head of Steam) used to be somewhere where I’d often arrange to meet friends when I still lived in London. Despite it being taken over by Fullers and seeing prices hiked as a result its still a busy place. The old railway memorabilia’s been preserved, so – although it’s been spruced up it really doesn’t feel that different. What has changed is the range of drinks, like most places they’ve added craft beers. The Doric shares something in common with a lot of railway station bars, it’s a popular location for ‘secret assignations’. You could often spot couples who weren’t married to each other. They may have met through work (or on the train) but there they’d be, having a smooch before going home to their respective partners! Not that I’m levelling any accusations about anyone in this picture, obviously…

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Meanwhile, one thing that I’ve always cast envious eyes at is the huge model of a BR Class 9F that sits atop the bar. I’m glad to see that it’s still here.

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Right, it’s time to head off. I’m staying with old friends in South London, so it’s off to the Victoria line I go…

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