Final Day of UK Trip
July 25, 2009

Yesterday I went to the office at my usual time and only Chloe was awake when I passed the bedrooms.  I took the tube as per usual into the office.  I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that the tube in front of us had an emergency passenger alarm pulled while in the station so we ended up being stuck between stations for about 10 minutes.  Not a good experience for anyone that is claustrophobic!  Fortunately the tubes are much less congested at the moment (at least in the morning) because it is now school holiday’s in the UK.  Makes for a much more pleasant trip to work as I now can get a seat.  I had a reasonable amount of work to do in that I needed to wrap up with my senior staff and sort out a few outstanding client matters as well.  At 9:30am I tried phoning the flat but got no answer so I thought that Helen and the kids were out.  I tried both their mobile phones and also no answer, so I sent a text to their phones telling them to call me when they could.  I got a call from a sleepy Helen saying ‘What do you want?’  I quickly established that they were all still in bed.  You could just see how busy the day was going to be for them!

They spent the morning cleaning the flat with everyone having a task to do.  They had no plans to go out and so all they did was pack up and clean up.  Helen had to take some wine to the chairman of the company that owns the school that she works at and the kids are studying at.  He is a member of one of those clubs on the Mall.  You have to take a taxi to it because you wouldn’t otherwise know which club it was – they either don’t have any name at all (or number) or they only have a very small name plate.  Visitors aren’t welcome at these clubs (especially women usually) and so they don’t advertise themselves much if at all.  Most of them only have membership by invitation.  She did manage to find the club (courtesy of a taxi driver) and besides this outing the only other she did was to the hairdresser.

By the time I got back to the flat (at around 2:30pm), most of the packing was done and I just needed to pack the final suitcase.  The problem was that there were way too many things to fit into that one suitcase.  We sifted out the read books and put them to one side and I will bring them back on my next trip.  Even with this there still seemed to be too much for the suitcase. Some repacking was done of the kids’ suitcases and with a little pushing and shoving we managed to get everything in.  We did have to take an extra backpack for the books we brought back (at least 30).  I had organised for a taxi to take us to the airport and he called just before 4pm to say he was downstairs.  As there really isn’t any space to park downstairs (the flat is on Victoria St), he did a trip around the block while we came down with the luggage.  Of course, just at the point he returned it started to rain (again).  We managed to get everything into the minivan including ourselves and we headed for Heathrow.

It was just the start of rush hour and so we got stuck in traffic and it took us around an hour to get to the airport.  We left from Terminal 5 (the new terminal) which is nice looking but there are a number of practical flaws.  We checked in and then wanted to go through the nearest security checkpoint only to be told that we could use it as I flight departed after 6pm.  This meant walking all the way to the other side of the terminal to the other security check point.  Of course another 1000 people were also going through security at that precise moment.  Fortunately they are quite organised and we didn’t have to wait too long.  Michael though set off the security body scanner – it must have been his electric personality that did it because he had nothing else on him.  They wouldn’t search him until I had given permission (I wonder what they would have done if I said no?).

We then headed for the BA lounge which was on the other side of the terminal building.  By the time we got there I was looking forward to sitting down.  When we turned our backs, Michael and Chloe had vanished and Helen set off to find them.  They had found the food, dished what they wanted and were sitting down at a table eating.  Helen and the kids went out to have a brief look at the shops and Michael bought himself a large chocolate (which he plans to share with his friends at school) and Stephen bought a Digital photography magazine.  Otherwise everyone was shopped out.  We left the lounge at around 6:35pm as we had to get to satellite B for our departure gate.  This requires that you take the longest escalator I have ever seen down to the train and then the train across to B and then another escalator up into the satellite terminal.  By the time we had done that our plane was about to board.  The plane was ready to leave on time but as a squall had hit Heathrow about 10 minutes prior to our departure; it resulted in a slight delay.

Michael sat by himself (one row in front of the rest of us) and then Chloe had the window seat with me next to her in the aisle, Mom had the other aisle and then Stephen in the window again.  The window seats face backwards and I don’t like flying backwards – just feels wrong.  The service on the flight was good, it was slightly bumpy but everyone got a reasonable (though shortened) night’s sleep after we had finished watching the movie we had each chosen.

It was an enjoyable and relaxing trip and we are already thinking & planning for next trip.  We have a game park visit booked in September which is just a short break of 3 days.  I will probably blog it as I usually do – the most enjoyable part will be the photos (hopefully) from that trip.

Hope you enjoyed the read … we enjoyed the holiday.  We’re now back in CT where it is icy cold but at least clear.  It will some time to get used to the darkness at 6pm rather than 11pm!

Until next time.

Peter, Helen, Stephen, Michael & Chloe

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