Thursday, February 28, 2013

Eurostar, Paris and a squirrel

Bleary eyed, at five o'clock in the morning, we walked along Sussex Gardens from our Paddington hotel to Lancaster Gate Railway Station. We were on a tour, with a coach to collect us and take us to St Pancras Station where we would catch the Eurostar to Paris.

Knowing what I know now, we would not have bothered with the coach and just caught the Tube to Kings Cross, the station next to St Pancras. Instead of waiting for about half an hour for the coach after we returned from Paris, we would have certainly caught the Tube back to our hotel.

Paris? Magical. Eurostar? Brilliant, although not as good as Japan's Shinkansen.

But you know what I remember so vividly from the day? It was seeing my first squirrel in Sussex Gardens in the early hours of the morning. I was inwardly so excited, outwardly still and silent, unsuccessfully hoping to not disturb it. It was a great start to the day.

I found my photo of the squirrel, but I could not actually see it in the photo. Maybe digital photos fade too? Our friend from Japan who is staying with us looked at the photo too, and nor could she see it. My squirrel photo appears to be only a tree in a garden bed. There could be a bird in the photo though, startled by a squirrel running up a tree.


I recall it was a red squirrel. From what I read here, the squirrel must have been there somewhere in the photo. Never mind. This is an Acme Company generic squirrel photo. Cute, hey.

Later edit: It has been pointed out to me that red squirrels are not to be found in London, so no doubt it was a grey squirrel. Maybe cuter still.

19 comments:

  1. Cute indeed, straight out of the Disney Company.

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    1. Can't go wrong with Disney cute Victor.

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  2. I feel really mean to rain on your parade but there are no red squirrels in London only grey ones.

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    1. Fun60, my parade has been suitably rained on. I've edited the post.

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  3. The grey squirrels have performed genocide on the red ones :(

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  4. Fen, I had forgotten that. Fool! I've learnt a lot more than I can ever remember.

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  5. European cities are so close together, it made absolute sense to build top class railway services between them. I think of London, Paris and Brussels much in the same way I think of Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

    Not only is Eurostar comfy, quick and less polluting than planes, it goes RIGHT INTO THE HEART of the destination city. Forget dragging half way across France, only to grab a ferry and vomit your way across the Channel.

    How did you like travelling underwater? Did that creep you out, a bit?

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    1. Hels, I agree about London, Paris and Brussels equating to Australia. So good to not have to do the airport thing.

      I felt like I had hardly taken a breath and we were under the Channel. It was just a long train tunnel to me. I did not realise how far Paris was from the coast.

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  6. oh Hels (above) in California the BART train in San Fran goes underneath the bay and it totally freaked me out. I could not cope with the Chunnel no thanks.
    Andrew I would have been thrilled to see a squirrel close-up. The US White House has squirrels racing from tree to tree and I always look in the background of news reports from there, to see if I can spot one.
    The Red vs. Grey squirrel brawl in the UK is terrible. Do they rip each other to shreds? can you imagine what they look like doing that? definitely NOT DISNEY

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    1. Ann, how good are you to know about BART. I expect it was intimidation and harassment of red squirrels by the grey that drove them out.

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  7. I've only ever seen squirrels on TV in cartoons, but they look remarkably like the real thing.

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    1. River, I suppose our equivalent are possums, but squirrels look a bit cuter.

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  8. Me too - the first time I travelled half way round the world the thing that excited me most was seeing some squirrels.
    The other thing I found astonishing in England that year was the abundance of silage. An unbelievable quantity of silage - in green fields.
    The black faced lambs were cute. So cute we couldn't order lamb for dinner when the menu spelled it out "black faced lamb". Naturally, when we came home we realised there are black faced lambs everywhere here.

    Emotions, discoveries and lifestyle are real "landmarks". A lot of the more traditional, static landmarks do nothing for me at all.

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    1. Yep FC, it is the simple things you recall. I am not sure if they were of the black faced variety, but wow, the expensive lamb chops were divine.

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  9. Did you say Paris...Eurostar? Magical words Andrew..I just have to conquer my fear of flying and get back there soon.

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    1. Grace, maybe the company of the four French body builders were soothe your anxiety?

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    2. You don't seem to realize the extent of my flying anxieties Andrew, even with four French body builders in tow, there would have to be lots of valium type pills haha! Seriously it's getting worse as I get older.

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  10. Hi Andrew

    I have seen what I am sure was a red squirrel in London, on Hackney Marshes. Others have reported a sighting there as well. It's unlikely you'd see one in the inner-city parks that get a lot of human traffic but I wouldn't rule it out completely. Red squirrels are much smaller - about the size of a large guinea pig and they are a distinctive rusty red.

    xxx

    Pants

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    1. Thanks Pants. Perhaps the canal is the DMZ. Red on the east bank, grey on the west.

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