Friday, September 4, 2009

Uncle Albert

All I can think of is the line from Paul McCartney's song with Wings: "We're so sorry Uncle Albert/we're so sorry, but we haven't done a thing all day". I feel a bit like that at the moment. After a lovely week off in the comfort of the Didcot/Hagbourne area I'm now back in London and struggling to feel as if I'm going to be productive. Thankfully, I have about three weeks before school starts where I can shake of the lethargy and desire to do nothing but tour historic sites, have huge family dinners, and try to navigate the ridiculously high wall of the tub when climbing out of the shower without causing undue injury. That last is still something I'm working on. Really, the problem is that the bath is just out to get me, taking advantage of my lack of familiarity with its narrowness and its highness in comparison with its American counterparts. The power shower is in on it as well. Twice this week, it's very disconcertingly turned itself on in the mornings. The shower doesn't approve of the lazy way in which I spend my mornings...I think this is its way of conveying displeasure.

Really though, hostile bathroom fixtures aside, I'm well pleased that the memory of my flight over is slowly fading. The four-leg journey was slightly horrendous - though at least it was broken up a bit. My first flight to Phoenix I was between two deceptively sweet old ladies...sort of like those to be found in Hot Fuzz, who offered to break my leg for me! I knew there was really a sinister purpose lurking behind those good-natured old-lady chuckles. Cosa Nostra anyone? Part two: Phoenix to Chicago. I was trapped between the window and a chatty middle-aged Russian couple. Not to mention being about 7 hours sleep-deprived at this point, with the rest of a 24-hour period to lose in sleep over the rest of the flights. O'Hare airport yeilded a very long line at Burger King (joy of joys) and then the chance to see the cruddiest International Flights terminal I'd ever had the misfortune to witness!

It was hilarious, really, because the rest of the airport was pretty nice and yet, the international terminal looked like the airport from a well-to-do branch of a third-world dictatorship. The sort left for the use of petty middle-rank bureaucrats. The moving walkways didn't move, there was no hot food past the security point, the carpet had last been replaced in 1972. These sorts of things are luxuries, Comrade, best to learn to do without. It's good for the soul.

However, the last leg, from Stockholm to Heathrow, was brilliant. I took a short nap, freshened up by washing my face and putting on makeup in the aeroplane's loo, and at the end of it all, got to be greeted by a very wonderful boyfriend and his very wonderful father. I confess, in spite of ease with which I settled into seeing right-hand driving after hours and hours of Top Gear viewing at home, I was still mildly unsettled by the Bishop's use of speed through the turns and on the B-roads. Still though, we made it back along the scenic route in decent time to be greeted warmly by Yvonne, Felicity, and the boys, and have a good dinner together. Got an equally lovely dinner with Tim and Rachel a few nights later in Reading, which was fabulous. Funny moment: Tim and Seb are very much intregued on the way out the door by the faulty fuse box. Rachel turned to me to say, "Apparently, this is what men do," to which I was oblidged to specify (much to our joint amusement) "This is what these men do!" Much as I love London, I'm already noticing a striking affinity for the East Hagbourne/Didcot/Reading area.

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