…how the word ‘queue’ ever got adopted by the English from the French, who clearly don’t even have the concept, rather like those tribes who have no concept of number and allegedly count ‘one, two, many’. This makes getting on the Eurostar particularly painful. When they moved the terminus from Waterloo to St. Pancras they missed a trick and didn’t set up a single queuing system so that passengers attempting to check in have to guess which of the scrums for the ticket gates will have the man having a strop because he can’t check in more than an hour early in it (we guessed wrong). And then when the platform finally opens and all the English people who have been patiently waiting in line to get on the train get overtaken by a tide of cashmere overcoats and dodgy purple backpacks, the effect is more slow moving bread riot than the sophisticated return to international train travel we had all been led to expect by the salivating coverage of the new St. P’s. Frankly, wherever French people and queues are likely to meet, a strict system of first-come-first-served enforcement and clearly marked queue lines should be put in place. It’s the only language they understand*
Still, when you glide up the travelator and look up at the sparkling new roof, which they have managed to light so that the sky appears to be full of stars, much can be forgiven. And Eurostar have set a new standard in train excuse technology – not only blaming our late start on too much passenger luggage (at Christmas! who’da thunk it?) but then blaming our further lateness on the presence of wild boars on the track. You don’t get that at Brentford. And SNCF, obviously alerted to my imminent arrival and hoping to head off all disgruntlement at the pass, declared all local trains round Paris free this weekend. It won’t stop me, but it was a nice try.
*Apart from French, of course.