Saturday, October 13, 2012


A curious, befuddling and somewhat difficult journey yesterday, Thursday, from my sister's home in Cirencester, in the south west of England, to my son's home in Harpenden, north of London.  It involved, first, that train ride I described from the train to London.  We had arrived at the station with too little time to get through the long line to the ticket office, so we had boarded without tickets and had to pay at the other end.  Appalled to discover the cost--more than $100 for the two of us for I'd guess an 80 mile journey--we used up more time with a visit to the main ticket office to be sure we had not been overcharged.  Long lines everywhere... and bureaucracy!

Then there was the transit from Paddington station, where we had arrived, to St, Pancras, where we needed to catch the train to Harpenden.  With our five heavy bags, it was no easy matter negotiating the unfamiliar process of buying tickets and finding the right route--especially when confronted with long flights of... stairs!  Still, most frequently, some kind person spotted our predicament and stepped in to help.  St. Pancras--now a huge and complex building that replaces (and embraces) the old, Victorian train station--proved an interesting challenge, but we made it fairly easily through to the local train lines and caught one that brought us in a quick half hour to Harpenden, where my two sons, Matthew and Jason, were waiting to greet us and drive us to our B&B. (Jason is visiting here simultaneously from where he lives, in Iowa.  It's a rare treat to see them both together.)

Our B&B, it turns out, is a five minute walk along a back path to Matthew and Diane's house, but today's rain has made it mostly mud--navigable in daylight but risky after dark.  Luckily there's also a long way round, only a fifteen minute walk, along the roads.  Dinner en famille a great joy, with the three grandchildren, Alice (13) and Joe and Georgia (10) in good form.  Returned to the B&B late-ish, in time to watch some commentary on the Vice-Presidential debate.  This whole election is proving to be an unwelcome cliff-hanger.  Much better to forget about it and to wake, in the morning, to view of the lovely English countryside, taken from our bedroom window...

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