I went up to London the other day to spend the day with my dad. We don't see each other very often - he lives in the States and I usually go and spend Christmas with the family but he doesn't get over to this side of the world that much so it was lovely to meet up on home turf.
We were supposed to meet at St. Pancras at 2.15, which gave me enough time to have a coffee and a little browse of the sale rack at Oliver Bonas beforehand... not that I'm obsessed with dresses these days, you understand, just somewhat infatuated with them. I like having some time in my day to have a sit down and watch the world go past and big train stations are ideal for that - you get the whole human drama: excited kids on a day out in the city, travellers passing through, couples saying goodbye, groups of teenagers, purposeful business types, all that frustration, delight, heartache, boredom, nonchalance and awe plays out. It's one of my favourite pastimes that I inherited very much from my grandma.
When we met we decided to go for a stroll - we started off inside the station because there is so much to see. The architecture of St. Pancras is magnificent, it was built in Victorian times in the Gothic Revival style, but it was refurbished in a big way in 2007 so it is a lovely mix of old world character with an airy modern feel. We went upstairs and looked at some of the sculptures, including an absolutely massive one of a man and a woman having a kiss goodbye.
Then we took a walk down the street and found somewhere for coffee. My dad had been doing some work in the south of France and then in Bulgaria, so he showed me all his holiday snaps. I've never been to Bulgaria, but from the photos it looked lovely - lots of Roman ruins, a bit of Ottoman with some Russian influences. Apparently there was plenty to eat for vegetarians too, which made me happy. We sat in the sun and chatted about the projects he is working on for a while and he told me all about the spread of Chagas disease and the mathematics of hip replacements.
We then spent a good couple of hours just wandering about. We strolled all the way up to Russell Square and Holborn and then turned towards Farringdon and then back towards Kings Cross. We talked a bit about the family - my grandma died when I was about 6, so I didn't know her very well, and don't know much about that side of the family so my dad told me some stories about her and her time growing up in Poland and how they escaped during the war. We stopped into the British Library for a wander in the court yard there and then headed back to get some dinner.
I always like seeing my dad, we talk about interesting things, he has introduced me to many ideas and books and he is one of the only people that I can talk to about philosophy and culture and the world in general who has a similar outlook to me. He recently gave me a pile of books for my birthday about evolutionary spirituality and integral consciousness so we chatted about that quite a bit over dinner. 'You're smart. Eventually you'll find some people who think like you.' It was really lovely - and also really nice to have some time alone with him which is fairly unusual. I won't see him again for a while, probably about a year. As we were standing there waiting for his train to come saying our goodbyes, figuring out when we would next be seeing each other, he said, 'I'm already sad to be leaving you.' He went off to catch his train, and I went off to catch mine. I had a little cry on the train home - my own little slice of human drama.