Saturday, September 18, 2010

What I Did This Weekend

My project for the weekend was to handle logistics for an excursion for two people from Central London out to the Darwin House in Kent.  You wouldn't think it was that big of a deal: I've been coping with London public transport for near onto forty years come peasecod time, and I've found it always doable and often rather fun.  But this year, everything is new, and has to be rethought twice.  Example, I never had an Oyster Card before,.  And I'm only  beginning to get used to all the not-quite-as-helpful-as-you-want-them-to be option for trip planning.  Also: I forget stuff, like I forget that King's Cross is not really next door to Euston (that's St. Pancras).  And there is a little matter of the guy in  the dress, who made thought of travel through Central London pretty much of a non-option today.   Still, it did come together: walk to King's Cross, tube to London Bridge, suburban train to Orpington, bus to the destination and don't forget it is a request stop.

In the end, it worked almost without a hitch.  I guess I read the directions ten times, confused myself on seven of the ten.  I wasn't ready for all those warnings of weekend maintenance stoppages from King's Cross.  I really couldn't make head or tail of the over-helpful schedule sign at London  Bridge, but eventually that problem solved itself. I more or less panicked when the Southeastern train flashed through half a dozen stations without stopping before coming to rest, reassuringly, at Orpington.  In the end, I'm specially pleased to be here, seeing as how it is the domicile of an old friend.  

And so, pretty much, ends an uneventful day.  Last night I was reading about Phillippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, "General Leclerc," deGaulle's fightingest man-st-arms.  Among his many achievements, he successfully moved a column of French troops across the Sahara from Chad to Tunis.  And he didn't have a carte Oyster.

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