I currently am recovering from my first 24 hours traveling to a green and pleasant land across the pond that my ancestors fled for the ”New World” in droves in the 17th century. I was up early with BFF2, ran the trash to the landfill, repacked my suitcases for the fourth time in two weeks, bundled BFF2 off with her Fairy Godmother, washed all my bed linens, vacuumed and mopped, updated the website and finished up last minute reports for The Little Job, wrote some notes, and wrapped a Mother’s Day gift for My Mother, I was almost too exhausted to drive the two hours up I-95 to the airport in Philly. Almost.
I was blessed with absolutely no traffic, no wacky drivers, no accidents on the Tydings Bridge over the mighty Susquehanna River, and no tollgate backups in Delaware. Thank the travel gods for E-Z Pass and camera detectors! Really. I thanked them profusely, since burnt offerings are frowned upon by highway patrol in most states.
Once settled in the parking shuttle, I breathed a little easier until I noticed that my phone, although plugged in, hadn’t charged up during the drive and that I forgot my Epi-Pen. (Are there white-faced hornets and m-fing yellow jackets in Europe? Hope six months of bee allergy shots will protect me.)
Checked my bags at international Terminal A, from which my flight was departing, and was told that the only TSA pre-ck is in Terminal C, about a 15 minute walk, outside. The sole regular line had at least 100 weary travelers, so, I trekked up to Terminal C in a quilted jacket in 72-degree heat. On the plus side, on the last day of April, I earned my ”April Challenge Badge.” My watch celebrated with explosive vibrations matching my heart rate.
Finally, I boarded my flight and sank into my business class seat. Accumulating air miles over two years during The Pandemic with excessive spending on my credit card and no travel got me an upgrade. It was well-worth it!
Masked flight attendant Julie, the only other person with whom I interacted while aboard for seven hours, hurried up with the no-brainer choice of sparkling wine or sparkling water. My window seat was a semi-enclosed cubicle that extended into a flat bed with a thick pillow and comforter. (The only way for a delusional princess to cross an ocean and the only reason I upgrade. I’ve got better wine and food at home—although the shrimp appetizer with a spicy aioli was pretty, pretty good.) Heck, I remember when we were thrilled to have a foot rest on bus trips.
So. Here I am at Heathrow airport, where I have so many fond memories; an aborted landing on my first trip (“Sorry about that, ladies and gentlemen,” the clipped voice of the British Airways pilot apologized, after the enormous L-1011 shot back up into the sky. ”There was an Air France aircraft a bit too close at the end of the runway.” Ah, the national rivalry.) The first time I was patted down by security, 1986. The Concorde. Shopping at the little Harrod’s shop.
Today, it’s chilly and gray, and I’m happy to sit in a hotel room, drink decent cups of tea, nap, and watch the telly (my favorite commercial advertises a £5 coin commemorating QEII’s 75th Jubilee. The announcer reassures the viewer that it costs it’s face value of £5–only on the Isle of Guernsey.
Herewith photos from the First 24. I think they’re self-explanatory. I wrote this on my iPhone, so please forgive the typos. On this Sunday and always, Soli Deo Gloria.