I should have been writing this in an agreeable hotel in Avignon. The room was booked, the first class tickets bought. We rose at five to catch the train to London. At the St Pancras retail destination (with attached railway station) the ticket machine would not allow us onto the 10.00 am to Lille. We were directed to the ticket office. It turns out that there were no TGV trains running anywhere in France today, and so no possibility of reaching Avignon.
The Eurostar office made no difficulty about refunding the train tickets, which leaves me out only one night in a hotel (cancelled too late); £40 for two returns to London; £8.00 for two single tube tickets from King’s Cross to Liverpool Street; £10 for two coffees and two croissants while deciding what to do in the absence of trains and £12 for taxis to and from the station. I did learn one new rip-off. The café in St Pancras, rather than charge £6.00 for a sandwich, sells the bread and the filling separately at £2.95 each and the customers get to assemble it themselves.
It might have been more sensible to ring and check the progress of the strike before setting off, but I had the impression that no one at Eurostar had any idea which trains would be running until they were actually cancelled, if you see what I mean.