Terminal Illness – 5th July 2012

Well, this was certainly a day of two halves.  The first half went swimmingly (if you ignore the waking every hour or so during the night, instantly calculating how much time we had left in the country).  We returned our flat keys to the landlord without problem (although it was really weird, shaking hands and walking out of “our” flat without any keys and leaving strangers in it).  Off to Asda for breakfast (thinking, this time tomorrow it’ll be Walmart), then a last visit to the local seafront for a chance to stare out at the waves (because we won’t be getting much opportunity to do that in the next three years ….)

We then repaired to our (once) local café to sit and wait for the taxi.  Our cascades of luggage rather gave us away and we were made very welcome by the café owners on the first leg of our transatlantic voyage.  When the taxi turned up I was pleasantly surprised to see the driver in a suit (when does that ever happen?  Should I refer to him as a chauffeur?).  The journey to Heathrow was uneventful.  Then the fun began.  The entrance to Terminal 3 was closed.  We got dropped off at Terminal 1.  With four EXTRA LARGE suitcases.  We navigated our way to Terminal 3 (those Body Pump classes have paid off, I can tell you) where we found some thoroughly unhelpful Virgin Atlantic staff.  We had hoped to do a twilight check in and bag drop (rather than have to drag four EXTRA LARGE suitcases on public transport the next morning).  We couldn’t check in using Virgin’s computers so I had to do it in an internet café (which is not helpful or simple when you are down to your last few English pennies and it’s pay per minute).  We also couldn’t check in any bags but we did manage to pay to leave them securely overnight (for a fat fee).

It felt like we had lost a good few hours of our lives, as our will to live had entirely drained away by this point.  I was surprised to see it was actually only four hours since we had left “home”.  Our final task we to get to our hotel.  One HUGE MENTION has to go to the LOVELY LOVELY National Express lady who pointed us in the direction of a free London bus (about 20 seconds walk around the corner) instead of the not-that-cheap National Express airport-hotel bus.  What a woman.  The last few hours of our last day in Blighty were spent alternating between bar and bath, my last chance to drink some proper ale in a long time.  I ended the night watching Question Time with John Lydon (well, he was on the show, not in my hotel room, thankfully).  I shall miss such forthright, take-no-cr@p attitudes.  I fear this will be missing in the US.

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