St Pancras Day

It is St pancras Day. (May 12th) And just who is (or who was) St Pancras? A popular website dedicated to popular knowledge has the answer. Saint Pancras (Latin: Sanctus Pancratius; Greek: Ἅγιος Παγκράτιος) was a Roman citizen who converted to Christianity, and was beheaded for his faith at the age of just 14 around the year 304. His name is Greek and literally means “the one that holds everything”. From an early stage, Saint Pancras was venerated together with Saints Nereus and Achilleus in a shared feastday and Mass formula on 12 May. In 1595, 25 years after Pope Pius V promulgated the Tridentine Missal, Saint Domitilla was added also. Since 1969 Saint Pancras is venerated separately, still on 12 May. He is, traditionally, the second of the Ice Saints. Now just why anyone would want to name a mainline London station after an obscure saint is a mystery. I daresay though, one day if we have a London to Rome high speed rail link, it will terminate at the St John Paul Station. So, we have just recently celebrated the joining of London and Paris via the Channel Tunnel. Twenty years since construction wokers deep under the sea finally linked up those tubes that were to become the busiest rail link in the world. It took Thatcher and Mitterrand to do it, though it was Napoleon, who (like most modern French ideas) first had the idea of biulding a tunnel under the English Channel to invade England – So, it is more realitsic than having Nazis living on the Moon and trying to invade the planet Earth (The plot of the Sci Fi B movie Iron Sky). Unsure as to the significance of St Pancras, you can now get there in just two and a half hours from the Gare Du Nord in Paris – that haven of criminality and humanity that makes you feel uneasy for your wallet and general wel being when you step outside. So, for just under 20 years, there have been about 400 trains a day plying their way from the City of Light to the City of Empire. Ticket prices are astronomical and the trains are frankly … Well, the rolling stock is almost 20 years old, and back in 90’s the carriage were pretty good, but now they are as dirty and as second rate provincial commuter train. Okay, we have the speed, we have the technology, but my attention is drawn to an unfortunate incident last week – an act of God or a fact of nature. As the train from London to Paris was thundering across the tundra of Northerbn France at 350 kmh, the train collided with a deer and was obliged to stay stuck for 5 hours. A word on St Pancras, who is also known as one of the Ice Saints – a curse for gardeners – it is traditionally on the St Pancras that we get the last frosts of the year before summer – so cover your veg and pray for sun. Who knows, with all the «winter weather» we have been getting, tomoorow’s Eurostar might grind to a halt in some unseasonal snow.