Last Post from the UK, September 7th 2007
Yes, really is the last post from the UK. Armed with my paper GPS printout from the extremely helpful RoutePlanner on London Transport’s ‘tfl’ (Travel for London) website, I can now navigate my way by bus, tube and train to Gatwick, leaving from my son’s flat with every step of the way clearly shown, with times like ‘walk 5 minutes to bus stop’ etc. etc. So off I go….oh, ABF stems from the days when we were all drinkers, last drink before leaving a party (Absolutely Bloody Final). Not now of course!
Where’s My Suitcase - Or is It Menopause? 9th September, 2007
This is how it went down. It was Friday, I had to get myself to Gatwick from North London. Leaving my son’s flat on schedule, if slightly paranoid about not forgetting anything because once outside the front door - keys had to be left inside their top floor flat. I managed the very narrow stairs leading down past the middle flat into the Black Hole of Calcutta, (the flight leading down to the front door), lugging my suitcase and backpack. (I trod warily as my husband fell down this same flight of stairs on his last visit!) On arrival, I spied a package lying on the mat - excited because it looked like the DVD my brother had posted me at the last minute - a film he assured me I MUST see. We had thought it wouldn’t arrive before I left but there it was! I opened it to make sure and then clutching it, its packaging and my backpack I emerged from the front door and set off for the bus stop across the road, congratulating myself on the benefits of travelling light... ?? How could this be, when my suitcase was actually very heavy? Discover I am without my suitcase. Shock, horror! It is nowhere - well, it is in fact behind the front door and that door is now stonily shut! No-one in the building due home until after work tonight. I have my cell phone - on 1 bar of battery because I haven’t charged it the whole holiday, not having an adaptor plug. I phone my son’s work - Answering Machine!!! Panic. Worst case scenario? He never picks up the message and I have to go with only my backpack - nothing of value in my suitcase except my make-up, so not too bad. Upside? Travelling really light. Just enough battery to phone my brother - also Answering Machine !!! Now what. Pray. …Prayer is answered. My brother phones back, thinks situation very funny. Likes ‘Last Minute Panics re travel. (See earlier blogs.) He promises to keep trying my son’s phones. Soon, my son phones. Unphased and uncensorial. Says casually he will be home on his scooter in 25 mins. All is well as I have prudently allowed about 8 hours more time than I needed to get to the airport. (Well, you never know.) It is now 11.45 a.m. Son arrives at 12.10, lets us in and proposes first to make blueberry/apricot muffins, before driving me to tube station. I realise I actually have plenty of time. Son remarks that most of London doesn’t go to work on a Friday in any case and ‘town’ will be half empty. He has decided to work at home himself for the rest of the day. This plan worked on all fronts and I arrived at Gatwick with a very safe six hour wait for my check-in. At least I had my suitcase - although I did leave my handbag on the trolley which wouldn’t push when I swapped trolleys. Luckily, I noticed after about twenty paces and hared back for it. Still there - the airport being practically deserted at this time.