Tuesday began weirdly.
I’d booked a taxi to Heathrow Airport the day before via the harried desk clerk at an under-staffed (and under renovation) Brook Green Hotel, and he assured me that all was reputable, it was a service he used all the time, and if there were any difficulties, the taxi stand was just up the street.
It wasn’t a good night’s sleep in a hotel without air conditioning during a heat wave, and with all windows bolted to preclude opening more than a three-inch crack, although the corner desk fan did manage to circulate the warm air.
We proceeded to the designated sidewalk waiting area and had a nice chat with workmen who’s driven all the way from Nottingham to tackle the second floor rehab. Soon an small SUV with not a solitary taxi marking pulled up and a nice African gentleman managed to convey in spite of language differences that he was our man. He had a slip of paper with our names and destination, and an eminently fair price was quoted, so we hopped in and enjoyed a brisk drive to the airport. It was an enjoyable ride.
There isn’t much to say about transatlantic flights (my 66th career transit — small beer to some, but important to me) except that they all routinely suck when occupying steerage space. My advice is to use any available drug, declare as a vegetarian in advance (you’ll be fed first) and endure the annoyance with stoical detachment … except when the movie choice includes the category “Classics”, from which the sole choice is Toy Story 2. In that case, scream in anguish.
Yes, there was much trepidation in the beginning when I learned our connection to and from Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, would be through Chicago O’Hare, another of the world’s busiest airports. But the flights to England were fine,as was the flight back to Chicago, at which point the connection to Louisville was delayed two hours because the wretches at American Airlines couldn’t manage to schedule a pilot with work hours remaining.
Whatever. We made it home, and that’s what counts. Thanks to Graham for the pickup, and to anyone who reads this account.
(The account of our visit to the UK is being posted piecemeal, backdated to the actual day)