Harry Potter open for business at King’s Cross.

That Harry Potter’s opened a store for muggles right by Platform 9 3/4. They got that Warwick Davies to open it. Ribbons, speeches, geeky fans, the lot!

This opened 2 weeks ago and I didn’t even notice. I pass through King’s Cross twice a day and still haven’t spotted the store.


What I DID spot this morning was that the customary Harry Potter luggage trolley had changed. Like its predecessor, it’s embedded in the wall, making it a super photo op for tourists and/or Harry Potter fans.


However, the new trolley sports some rugged old leather suitcases and half a birdcage. Is this for the owl? Sadly there isn’t half an owl embedded in the wall to establish this.

This is the 3rd location for the trolley. It used to be tucked away outside Platforms 9, 10 and 11, then they tucked it away by Platform 8 before moving it to its current position. Nice to see they’ve made an effort to Hogwartify the trolley. Before it was just a bog standard First Capital Connect one that got vandalised from time to time.

The map online puts the Harry Potter shop right next door to the trolley, so how come I didn’t spot it?

No idea, but the shop is a very good idea – heavy tourist traffic, excellent transport connections and highly relevant to the film (ignoring the fact that they actually used the more cinematic St Pancras next door for the films).




Sunrise on the 8.07

Apparently I missed a corker of a sunset last night – and I hate that. Nothing like a good sunset to fill you with a sense of childlike wonder and briefly pose questions about ‘the meaning of it all’. And they’re free too.

Anyway, seems I’m not the only one oblivious to all things celestial. Everyone was buried too deep in their crossword/iPod/Blackberry to notice when I took this pic this morning on the train.

Even Stevenage looks good at this time in the morning.

It looks like we’re commuting to our mineral mines on Mars. But we weren’t really.

Shopping trolley news from our Nice desk.

My shopping trolley posts of last year proved so popular, I’ve brought them back – and this time with a chic, international flavour.

Low season in Nice. Very low.

I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in France. We treated ourselves to a mini-break in Nice for 2 nights in that calendrial* hinterland between Christmas and New Year – you know, that time when you literally have to scan the Radio Times to discover what day of the week it is.

Nice is great. Amazing for shopping. Even better for people watching. This is clearly a favourite pastime with everyone here as people don’t sit opposite each other outside cafes, they all face out as though spectators for the continuous catwalk of humanity passing before them.

Anyway, a disappointingly overcast walk along the famous promenade turned up not one, but two shopping trolleys on the beach.

They. Get. Everywhere.

Is it enough to suggest twinning Stevenage with Nice? Nice should be so lucky…

* totally made that word up, John.

They grow up so fast don’t they?

A stony silence. Growing up can generate friction between siblings.

A stony silence. Growing up can generate friction between siblings.

This is the sight that greeted me this morning.

One of the kids has grown into an adolescent trolley. Look at the body language – trying to distance itself from the juvenile next to it. Look at the seat position on the older trolley – it’s not expecting a child is it? Teenage pregnancies in Stevenage are not unheard of…

Water on glass.

Finally my cameraphone spits out a half-decent image.

Finally my cameraphone spits out a half-decent image.

Not much to report. Both Hansel and Gretel are still in Trolley Corner. I also spied a similar trolley outside the Gents in Stevenage station, which would mean it had been wheeled through the ticket barriers. I would have taken a piccy but my train was pulling in to the station. There are many good causes for which one could miss one’s train. Taking a photo of a shopping trolley outside a toilet is not one of them.

So in the meantime, here’s a photo of my car’s windscreen where the wipers don’t reach.

Hansel and Gretel.

Same corner. New trolleys. Somebody call Scooby and the team.

Same corner. New trolleys. Somebody call Scooby and the team.

No doubt at the time, leaving a trail of pound coins so they could find their way back home to Tesco seemed like a very good idea. Unfortunately, unattended pound coins don’t hang around for long in Stevenage – especially when Poundland’s within walking distance. A pound will get you a 12-pack of pan-scourers or an extremely fragile toy truck; that kind of temptation is hard to resist.

These two turned up a couple of days ago. I tried to take a photo the night before last but the flash on my cameraphone is bobbins. At first I thought one had come along to keep the original orphan company, but no. These two are brand new to Swingate’s nascent Trolley Corner. They’re both from Tesco. Careful examination of previous TrolleyWatch posts will show that the original ‘top-up-shop’ trolley (as apposed to the ‘big-weekly-shop’ version) was in fact from Asda.

So now I’m wincing like Columbo. Same location – almost to the inch. That says to me it’s the same person leaving these trolleys here. Why? Tesco is but 300 yards away. Parking at Tesco is free (if you shop there). Parking at Swingate is not. So it’s not down to money or parking convenience. I deduce therefore that our culprit is a fully-fledged pedestrian. So why wheel your shopping as far as Swingate and leave it there? There are no flats nearby. I have 2 theories:

1. They get the train. They push the trolley yea far and save themselves 300 yards of bag-carrying. If they’re getting on the train, it’s all steps from here on in, so there’s nothing for it but to abandon trolley.
2. The more I think about it, the more I think I only have one theory.

Call the trolley orphanage!

Could YOU foster an abandoned trolley?

Could YOU foster an abandoned trolley?

Is there a sadder sight? At least before, this young trolley had company, some protection. But no more. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Tesco trolley has been retrieved first because the store’s only 300 yards away – well within the search radius of their trolley patrol. Perhaps they’ve alerted the proper authorities about the remaining trolley. We can only hope.

Mother and child.

Note the protective maternal stance of the Tesco trolley.

Note the protective maternal stance of the Tesco trolley.

This has become an impromptu theme. I never meant to develop a sub-blog based on shopping trolleys in Stevenage. The subjects came to me, not the other way around. However, I may eventually get civic recognition for my public-spirited attempt to reunite the trolleys with their rightful owners. Or perhaps not.

I noticed these two a couple of days ago, huddled together for warmth in the corner of Swingate. They’re still there, bless ’em. It’s very touching. It’ll be a wrench when the Tesco and Asda boys come to take them away: “Mummy! Don’t leave me…”

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