Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the father of English Literature, was credited with the quote, “All good things must come to an end”, back.in the year 1374. I don’t want to believe that, but this particular “holiday” is coming to its end.
Alison and I woke up just after 4am (11pm eastern) to say goodbye to Marion and Barry as their driver picked them up at 5:15 for the trip to Heathrow. Our flight wasn’t until 12:15, with our pickup scheduled for 8:30. We had a quiet breakfast, showered and dressed, finished packing and straightening up the flat, one last time. We saw the driver, David, down in the street, a bit on the early side, so we hefted the bags down the stairs and into the cool morning air for a quick roll across the street and into the Mercedes van. David led a lively conversation around local economics, which spread to the US and our government shutdown and Obama Care. The UK has done well the last year or two. Most Londoners left town during the Olympics, which he said actually made things less hectic for him. The owners of our flat, bought the building a couple years ago, literally gutted, and refinished the retail space on the street level, and at least 3 flats above. The current value of our flat alone is estimated at 1.2 million pounds, or about $1.95 million. Location, location, location. The flat was nice, but I wouldn’t pay that much for it.
The traffic to Heathrow was light, and we arrived in great time – not that we needed to. The USAirways ticket counter was easy to find, and we checked our bags with little fanfare. Security wasn’t bad, either, and we were through security with 2-1/2 hours to spare. Hey, why not shop?! So, we wondered the shops for a bit, including an airport version of Harrods, which surprised me. We made it to the Star Alliance Lounge for coffee, a banana, toast, bacon, and newspapers – and internet access, to occupy the time.
We boarded the Airbus 330, the same configuration we flew to Stockholm 3 weeks earlier, and moved in to our cubicles – 1C and 1F, right next to each other in the center of the plane. We got some orange juice to continue battling our colds, or whatever, and read until we got our meal. Unlike the trip over, we decided to take advantage of the movies this time. I watched Star Trek into Darkness, The Great Gatsby, and rounded it out with The Internship, a comedy about older Google interns, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. We touched down at 2:55pm.
Immigration was fine, it took forever to retrieve our “priority” baggage, but I’m always thankful when they arrive on the belt, and we stood in long lines that moved at Customs. All we wanted to do was to get down to street level on the elevator, but too many hands pushing unintended buttons, and we ended up traveling all the way to rooftop parking before working our way back down to street level. LOL – several of us were lightly threatening anyone to put their fingers anywhere near the elevator buttons!
Alison and Meghan coordinated timing from the Cell Lot, and it worked out perfectly, and we threw our 100+ pounds of total luggage into the back of the Pilot. The drive home was uneventful, and we got home around 4:30. Lauren chipped in and picked up Zach from daycare and got home shortly after us. Zach gives such good hugs and kisses! Alison presented her gifts, we had tea, and later, said good night to Meghan and Zach.
After sorting a few dirty clothes, the mail, paying a bill or two, calling Mom to tell her we were home, and doing little else – we were shot, and went to bed around 8 – basically a 21 hour day.
And, as mentioned above, all good things must come to an end.