London, United Kingdom
I rarely sleep well the night before a travel day, apparently even if the travel day is not my own. Even so, I was packing my backpack at 3.00am this morning and had to get up at 6.00am to get to Heathrow despite not leaving London at all. This has nothing to do with it being the 10th anniversary of ‘September 11’ and everything to do with picking up my travel companion for the coming month to begin the trip of a lifetime. My companion – my Mum!
Last night, Vic helped me make an extraordinary welcome banner (using the banner she had expertly made for my own arrival back in June) and then too-early this morning, Pete drove us to Heathrow for the pick up. I was a bundle of sleep-deprived, anxious excitement bobbing up and down like a meercat in the crowd huddled around the arrival gate at Terminal 4, using rudimentary profiling in an attempt to ascertain if the outpouring passengers were likely to have been on my Mum’s flight. Eventually she emerged and I made a bee-line to her ending with a near crash tackle and much anticipated series of hugs (many thanks to the various family members who sent hugs with mum).
The first order of business was a round of caffeine and initial debriefing about the 21 hours of flights that had bought about our reunion. Pete then drove us right into the heart of London, incorporating quite a comprehensive tour of several major sites and onto Hampstead for a traditional Sunday roast at The Roebuck Pub. Sufficiently fed and watered, Vic and Pete, having so generously donated their entire precious Sunday morning to our service, deposited us at our hotel near Russell Square.
I say hotel, I mean megaplex! At the time of booking, I had the impression of a small hotel for no particular reason so I was astonished to realise that it was more like a mini-city within the city. I can’t even guess how many rooms there are but it took us quite sometime to navigate the labyrinthine hallways to find room 3354!
Mum and I chatted as we dissembled our luggage but it didn’t take long for me to revert to a little girl lost, at once sad, scared, relieved and overwhelmed to have found her mum again. I had a big old, teary, snotty, cathartic sob. My mum cuddled me the way only she can and assured me it would be alright and I knew it would be just because she said so!
After Mum showered and I mopped up my face we went for a stroll to Covent Garden for window shopping and ice cream (which also makes everything better) doing our best to keep jet lag and sleep deprivation at bay as long as possible. The rain beat it to the punch so having decided to take it easy on our first day, we jumped in a black cab and headed back to the megaplex for a complimentary dinner at the adjoining Indian restaurant.
As our wine bottle emptied, so too did our remaining energy reserves. We made the long trek back to our room and gladly called it a night as I tucked Mum into bed.
This section will be reserved for my Mum, as guest blogger, to make any comments she wishes. Although she assured me that she had a lovely day, I can only scribe that which is being dictated to me at the time of writing: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz