So for those of you following me as a result of my being completely sans Verizon access this week, Cheerio! (That’s not cheerios, as in what my trio inhales, but cheerio like me trying to put a bright British spin on me having to leave my family for a week…)
Last Thursday night, at 10:30 pm, I was informed I’d need to hop on a Trans-Atlantic flight to be in London Monday to cover depositions. The me of several years ago would have loved it – single in the city. The me of a couple of years ago would have said, “okay, fine, I’ll miss Bray but I’ll manage.” The me of this year cried on the plane about leaving my children through Friday – a record in my home, 20 months old and I’ve only been away from them for two weekends.
So we zipped home early from the farm in Louisiana on Father’s Day (feeling guilty for that too!) so I could catch an evening British Airways flight out – at least I was flying business class so I presumed I’d get some rest and be ready to be on British time. I presumed incorrectly. After catching The King’s Speech on the small screen while I ate my airplane dinner (what better to put me in a British mood, right?), I reclined my seat into a bed around 11 pm to catch what I hoped would be 5 hours of sleep. Wrong. The flight was bumpy, so with every bump, I said a little prayer for a safe return to my loving family & remained wide awake. Then when I finally dozed off shortly after 2 am, it got hot. And then they turned all the cabin lights on & began to serve breakfast at 3:30 am in preparation for our 5:15 am landing (11:15 am in London).
So my ex.hau.sted. self trapesed like a zombie (with bad breath) through the checkpoints, grabbed my luggage, and enjoyed an HOUR AND A HALF ride from the airport to my hotel. Seriously? Agh. The hotel is lovely, a little modern for my British expectations, but fully functional for a business trip. Without access to any Verizon service here in jolly old England, something about their platform not being compatible, I proceeded to place what I can only guess was a very expensive hotel call to my husband. I plan to place a few of those to my kiddos as well, but not being able to talk to them every day while I’m gone is going to be wretched. At least Bray and I can email.
So every day I’ll do a short post, much shorter now that I’ve downloaded all the background, about funny little things I’m observing or doing or just musing about. I’ve not been back to England since the late ’90s so I’d forgotten a lot.
Day 1 Observations:
1. If you wear canary yellow on the street in London’s central business district, expect to stick out like, well, a yellow canary. The attire here is blacker than Manhattan.
2. Just because it’s in English, doesn’t mean it makes any sense to an American. There are so many examples, but one of the best is my room thermostat. It either goes up or down to -3 or +3 Celsius. What the heck am I supposed to do about that? It is freezing in my room! I’ve tried the + and – and I can’t get the room to warm up.
3. The English make precious children’s clothing. I just acquired one new item per child as part of my penance (they’d rather have a ball or tractor mind you) and was in a quandary over how to pick only one. They’ve left tacky and garish to the Americans and have beautiful and creative items here which I couldn’t wait to take home.
4. Everything is expensive, or more expensive than you think. Watch out, that whole pound thing will kick you in the rear. I decided to take tea this afternoon before the work all day/all week kicks in, and while it wasn’t at the Landmark like I’d hoped (too far for me to venture over), it was lovely and relaxing at the traditional English restaurant the hotel offered. Though $18 pounds for my afternoon tea sounded reasonable, I know that the approximately $35 dollars it will turn into when my credit card statement arrives is going to hurt if I do much shopping/eating/spending here.
5. It’s very nice that the lovely British people painted their roads to remind ignorant Americans to “look left” when they are instinctively looking right and to “look right” whilst they’re looking left (don’t you love the interjection of whilst, it’s such a great Jane Austen word, I’m going to try to write a blog in all Jane Austen-speak in honor of my time in England). Otherwise, said Americans would get mowed down by the double decker buses careening their way on the completely wrong side of the road.
So Good Afternoon – and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.