Well, I have to say that the journey could have been better. Despite our best intentions, we didn't manage to get the bus until 4:40 after provisioning ourselves with food & books. This should still have been plenty of time to make Baker St by 6:40 and get over to Waterloo to check in around 7 (they recommend you give 3/4 hr for check-in!). Somewhat to my surprise though, the traffic was terrible. We made Baker St at around 7 and dashed onto the tube which was fortunatly there waiting. It was also about this time that I realised that I had foolishly managed to lose the printout of the email containing our trip details which I *knew* I'd had at lunchtime. Fortunatly, Treo to the rescue here - I had to download all 200 emails in my inbox (must delete more often!) but I got it and we got our ticket from the automated machine (very smooth). After passing passport control etc we got to our departure gate about 5 mins before our scheduled departure to discover that the train was delayed and would not be boarding for another 20 mins. Typical.
Once we finally did get on board I was surprised by how old the carriage seemed. I'm not sure quite what I expected but slightly foxed grey coach seats wasn't it. They should borrow some Virgin carriages. We finally left about 3/4hr late and the ensuing journey was slowed down by youths throwing stones at the train in Kent. We finally made it to Gare du Nord at 1pm French time - an hour and a half delayed, which means we're entitled to a free single or half price return next time. Fortunatly our hotel, a 10min yomp from the station, lived up to it's promise of 24hr reception and the young man behind the counter deserves a prize for sorting us out despite our fratured Francais and lack of paperwork. Finally there, I just had to have a quick cool shower to cool down before collapsing into bed.