There is a once lovely square at the back of Paddington Station now comprised entirely of budget hotels. I missed the last train home last week and after drawing a few blanks secured a single room in one of these for £60. I didn’t expect much at that price, not in London. Nor was it. My room number was shakily inscribed on the door in black biro, for example. But what did surprise me was that my £60 also entitled me to all the pomp and circumstance of a full English breakfast.
Crapulent and tremulous the next morning, I descended the narrow staircases from the room in the eaves to the basement dining room. The solid varnished pine tables were packed with breakfasters. Polish waitresses in black T-shirts with the words ‘I LOVE MY JOB’ on the back darted hither and thither