Monday, August 2, 2010
Excitement of getting home to Southport after 6 weeks kept me awake half the night. I awoke at 6. oo am with the intention of getting my bags ready for the cab which was supposed to arrive at 7. 30 to get me to Heathrow at 9 am--traffic is awful in the morning, the cabbie said. We'd best be off early. Last-minute stuff was thrown into my backpack, more edibles I'd stored in the freezer were stashed in my bags and just as I sat down to a bowl of cereal at 7. 15 am along came the overly-enthusiastic cabbie, 15 minutes too soon!
Goodbye and Thank-yous all said, I was on my way, not along Cromwell Road (my favorite way out of the city) where the cabbie assured me there'd been a accident, but along Euston Road (less interesting). Of course, because we were early, there was no traffic at all and I arrived at Heathrow at 8. 30 am for my 12 noon flight! Once I'd checked in and re-distributed weight (my bag was three and a half kilos too heavy), I had all the time in the world to shop duty-free--so off to Harrods I went for mementos for Chriselle (found her the cutest Ferris key chain) and a Christmas pudding for our family and off to Jo Malone I went (for Pomegranate Noir perfume for me--saved almost $20 on a bottle) and off to the cosmetics counters I went for more sample spritzes and off to the Bacardi counter I went for a complimentary mojito (which after all the tension over my baggage I sorely needed) and then I was ready to make my way to the gate and sink down in my seat.
There was time after I'd whispered a prayer for a safe flight to reflect on my two weeks in London and to realize how singularly fortunate I'd been that I hadn't seen a drop of rain in 2 whole weeks! I'd covered almost all the items on my To-Do List including visits to the National Trust's out-of-the-way Hidcote Manor Gardens in Oxfordshire and Hever Castle in Kent, had eaten in a few of the restaurants I'd wanted to visit (St. John's Bar & Restaurant where I went specially for the Roasted Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad) and Cafe Spice Namaste where I had the chance to hobnob with the chef Cyrus Todiwala and his wife Pervin and Patisserie Valerie where the Tarte de Citron is not half as good as Carluccio's. I'd visited 4 of the 6 new museums on my list (the London Transport Museum, the Science Museum, the Foundling Museum and the Serpentine Art Gallery (the only one I didn't get to was the newly-reopened Florence Nightingale Museum but I shall keep that for a later visit and the Brahma Museum of Tea and Coffee has closed down). I saw two good plays (the outstanding All My Sons with David Suchet and Zoe Wannamaker and Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors at the Regent's Park Open Air Theater. I reconnected with so many close friends over pub grub and longer meals or shorter drinks. But perhaps the Highlight of my visit this time was the tour of Lord Leighton's House in Holland Park. And another highlight was that despite being ill and fighting a terrible flu-like lethargy, I managed to make it to the Anglo-Indian Mela in Croydon which was really the main purpose of my visit to London during this time of year.
On the flight back, the UK slumbered brownly under partly cloudy skies. We flew westwards along the northern coast of Devon before skimming over the Atlantic. As soon as we broke land again over the Northern coast of Canada, I spied the jagged edge of Newfoundland and the region around Halifax (how pretty it all looked) before we flew over the Gulf of Maine, the Massachusetts coastline and along the vertebra of Long Island (did not realize how many swimming pools there are on the island--almost every house seems to have one the further east one goes) before we made a smooth touch down at Kennedy airport under cloudless skies.
American Airlines made me wait a whole hour at the conveyor belt for my baggage and as I sweated bullets wondering how Chriselle was faring on the other side (and hoping she wasn't despairing of ever hooking up with me), I finally did sail through Customs and made contact with her. Apart from our affectionate reunion after 2 weeks, I received the most uproarious welcome from Ferris--indeed it is worth being away from home for 6 long weeks when one has this sort of welcome to anticipate. Chriselle drove on the way home which gave us a chance to catch up on all the happenings of the past couple of weeks since we'd parted in Bombay and then it was time for us to pull into the driveway of Holly Berry House as my travels came to an end and I surveyed all that I had left behind.
We had a cuppa in the garden which is badly weed-ridden--what with all the rain--and I realize I have exactly five days to bring it up to snuff before Llew and I leave on our trip to Canada at the end of the week.
As I bring this blog to yet another close, I say Au Revoir and Many Thanks to my followers. If only you (apart from faithful Feanor) would write me a line back sometimes to reassure me of your presence!
As they say in the UK, Cheers!