London, United Kingdom
I woke up for the first time this morning at about 4am and tried all known techniques to get back to sleep. Something must’ve worked because the next thing I knew, I was awoken again by Vic’s gentle knock at my door at 11.30am to make sure I didn’t oversleep – an experienced traveller herself, I appreciated the thoughtfulness of trying to acclimatise me to the timezone.
Now that I knew when I was, the sumptuous breakfast prepared by Pete reminded me where I was – eggs and baked beans on potato waffles – it doesn’t get much more British than that! Just the thing to soak up the night before and set me up for a day of pottering and unpacking.
Feeling almost human again (save for the cold that I seemed to pick up the instant I passed through the departure gate in Vancouver and incubated on the flight over), I had the opportunity to explore Vic and Pete’s amazing home. The house itself has beautiful bones – a faithfully restored fireplace, an incredible country-style kitchen with an old stove, sink and cupboards that have an original feel, as do the bathroom fixtures, especially that glorious lay-down-legs-straight-out bath, just like the one I dreamed of finding and somehow fitting into our house (big sigh).
But what makes this quaint house a welcoming home is that Vic and Pete touch – filled with trinkets and ephemera from around the world and photos of family and friends, every piece tells another story of a shared life and love that is so generously shared with all those around them.
In the afternoon, I headed off on my first solo mission into London proper to meet Elizabeth. I made my way to Tooting Bec tube station and as I headed down the stairs, I felt that familiar wave of warmth and signature smell that only the London Underground has – it was oddly reassuring and familiar.
I met Elizabeth at her work in Holborn, so close to where I used to work which gave me a strange feeling of being in a parallel universe with just enough changed in the area to disorientate me. In her office we searched for and eventually booked flights for a trip to Morocco after wrangling with the websites of various budget airlines (ah Ryanair, my old friend, you make me laugh with your mercenary ways!).
Mission accomplished, we headed to the Princess Louise pub for a proper reunion and run through of recent life events – we laughed, cried and drank. I’ve missed having Elizabeth in my life, over recent months especially. Being with her again was such a relief and had the ease that comes with someone who’s known you practically your whole life and still loves you anyway!
Although the jetlag eventually got the better of me, I slept feeling more grounded by the gravity of the people here and the firm and comforting grip they have on my heartstrings.