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In November two grandchildren were born, a boy to our daughter in Orpington (see The Leafy Suburbs), and a few days later a girl to our son in Shepherd's Bush. My wife had to pop down to the latter at short notice to look after the big sister-to-be (births are always short notice even though you have nine months to get ready for them!) and found the Thameslink service there and LNER back very satisfactory. It was a straightforward birth and she met the new child at under a day old and then returned.
We had both met our new grandson a few days previously but that left me not having met the new little girl, so a visit to Shepherd's Bush was arranged, this time with a few days to prepare! As we had done for the other parents, we took food with us to cook for them and all had lunch together, but we then moved on to visit the other part of the family in Orpington as well, a three-cornered trip. It was all remarkably easy to do, if a little tiring. The main line section between Stamford and London was booked in our usual way, with a Standard Class day return between Stamford and Peterborough and then LNER First Class singles between Peterborough and London - First Class was especially welcome (and especially cheap!) on the way back when we were tired, and supplied us with a good light supper. It was a bit expensive on the way there and it was fares at just a few days' notice that determined which train we took.
The rest was all done on our Oyster Cards, and with family advice we found a simple route between the two homes: Hammersmith & City Line to Baker Street, then Jubilee Line to London Bridge where we caught the next fast train to Orpington. These trains are about every ten minutes and Orpington is their first stop: it really could not be much quicker. From Orpington station we tried the bus service to get to their house: there are three possible routes and we took the first bus that came along which dropped us right at the end of their street, about 100 metres from the house: almost as close as the taxi would get, but we did have to stand in the cold for a few minutes to wait for it - substantially cheaper, though! We did call for a minicab back to the station, with it being dark, late, cold and with a train to catch. Must get in the swing of doing this by bus, though, which will be even cheaper when my concessionary pass arrives next spring! And so to London Bridge, Thameslink to St Pancras, wait in the First Class lounge at Kings Cross, train home via a change at Peterborough. And bed. A great day!
This article first appeared on www.mwtrips.co.uk
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