A Waterside Wander – 25/06/22


I seem to remember writing about hanging out in Kings Cross in the early days of the blog. Back then, Kings Cross was no place to linger. It was basically just a seedy main road and a very cramped station. Nowadays, it’s practically a neighbourhood.

We had reasons to be in Kings Cross. We had a wedding to get to at 5PM, which was at the Baptist church nearby. But first, we were planning to squeeze in some time with family who happened to be nearby. They were having lunch in a pub in Camden Road so we caught two overground trains (which were running perfectly at the time) and met them there. My plan was to walk down the canal from there to Kings Cross, stopping off at Gasholder Park along the way.

The plan worked pretty perfectly. I nominated one of the nephews to dive into the canal and rescue Eva if she fell in but I’m happy to say we didn’t need to resort to that. It was a sunny afternoon and there were some pretty boats and a few ducks bobbing along, in amongst the plastic bottles and assorted debris. Ah Camden, never change.

After about half a mile of walking, we came across Gasholder Park. We’d been there in February a few years ago but this was a much sunnier day. If you like taking photos, as the most hipster of my nephews does, it’s a good spot. The contrast of the canal and the train line makes a good backdrop and then there is endless fun playing around with the mirrored pillars.

Although you might end up with something like this, which Reuben calls “the stuff of nightmares”:

Kings Cross seems to change every time I go there and I swear there was a whole load of shops and stuff in Coal Drops Yard that have spring up post-Covid. I seem to remember going clubbing around here in the early 2000s but it didn’t look like this:


Plus these flower beds that the kids seemed determined to push each other into:

Our wedding formals weren’t exactly suitable for water-play so I gave the fountains a swerve and headed on towards Kings Cross itself. That meant passing by a hipster gelato van, which caused Eva to sigh “now I’m hungry for ice cream”. We went for a swing in the birdcage, which also had an ice cream van parked next to it. Luckily that one looked shut.

But I couldn’t ignore the pitying pleas of Eva’s ice cream tummy for long. The family had a long drive ahead of them so they left us just next to the station, where we bumped into an HP mum who was childfree and fancyfree. We were neither of those things and we still had an hour or so to kill before the wedding. I thought about getting some McFlurries but couldn’t quite face the McDonalds chaos.

So instead, we went to hang out at Creams instead. It was surprisingly affordable – much more so than the hipster ice cream vans – and delicious gelato-style ice cream. After half an hour or so we might have been starting to outstay our welcome but there was plenty of space so we ordered coffees as well and the kids entertained themselves by taking photos and applying “detective filters” for that Film Noir style.

If you’re observant, you’ll notice that the one of Eva wasn’t taken at Creams at all but at Five Guys post-wedding. Our friends had plans to go to a nice Portuguese cafe but it was 7ish by the time we’d finished at the church and our children were only suitable for places with quick service and wipeable surfaces.

It was a lovely wedding, in case you were wondering.

So the kids were full of chips and had refills of their drinks to go. The journey home was going to be a swift one on the Victoria Line and all was well….wasn’t it?

Well, not quite. You’ll notice that Eva is wearing quite the dapper trilby in these photos. She’d spent the whole week wearing it – taking it to Sports Day, using it as an impromptu bandage when she cut her knee, and now a wedding. That hat had lived a full life that week.

We were on the Victoria Line platform when it happened. A freak gust of air as the southbound train went through, a very piercing scream and suddenly the trilby was on the tracks.

Obviously, we did not retrieve it. As soon as we’d established that it wasn’t Eva herself down there, we started working on the “acceptance” part of the grief process. It’s not the first item of Eva’s clothing to be lost on a train track but I felt for her this time because she wasn’t doing anything wrong. Unlike last time. But I think some of our fellow passengers possibly had a heart attack when she screamed like that.

You’d think that would be enough drama for one journey home but no. A food fight in a different carriage saw us all chucked off the train at Finsbury Park and we had to wait for another one. We got to Walthamstow Central and realised that the Overground trains that had been running so smoothly earlier were part of the “reduced service” that was operating until 6PM. We started trudging slowly towards the bus station before breaking into a run when we saw our bus waiting. As we dashed through the bus station, Eva still mourning her lost hat, a tiny girl dressed as Mary Poppins yelled at us “You can do it! You can catch the bus!”

And we did. A surreal touch at the end of a nice day of family, friends, legally binding ceremonies and hat loss. Classic Saturday.

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