Monday, July 15, 2013

England in Late May

About two months ago, we spent a superb week away in England, although I wasn't sure we were going to make it there when I gave our passports to the man at the Turkish Airlines counter at 2:30am Friday morning.  He looked them over and then asked if perhaps we were flying Kenya Airways, not Turkish. I assured him we were flying Turkish, he then asked but why weren't you booked on this flight? Good question. I look to the Chill, who was in charge of booking said flight, expecting some outrage or confusion to flash across his face. Instead, I saw complete recognition and acceptance as he remembered that he had not actually confirmed the flight with the travel agent and hence we were not booked. Upon asking if we could just buy the flight at the counter, the friendly gentleman replied yes! Phew. But only if we could pay in cash....shoot! I decided at this point to sit down with my book and let Felix sort it out. It was his fault after all, and if we missed this flight, going the next morning would do us no good, as the whole point was to attend a wedding on Saturday. Not ten minutes later, we were booked on the flight, thanks very much to a travel agent in Tel Aviv who answers his phone at 2:30am, gets out of bed and books flights. Just another event in a life of many that refuses to teach Phil the lesson of planning in advance. Oy (severe eye roll).

We had been warned that it was cold, but since it was nearly June, we did not fully heed the warnings, thinking that surely boots and coats would be over doing it a bit. We were wrong. We arrived at the airport and immediately froze our butts off as we waited in the parking garage for the car to come around. It was really silly. I had on a sweatshirt, light weight trousers and ballet flats - not a tank top, shorts and flip flops - yet I was still shivering. Nearly JUNE, people! We spent the next several hours running around in the freezing rain looking for dress shoes, a shirt and a tie for Phil to wear the wedding function we were attending the following day. Do you notice a trend? Phil is never prepared! Luckily, all three were found and purchased. With a very brief stop by the Gill residence to borrow a car, take super speedy showers and borrow a coat, we were off to Abbotts Bromley, a pretty tiny little village about an hour and half away from Phil's parents' house.

The wedding we were attending was that of Hannah, a dear friend who lived with us while writing her masters dissertation and who stayed at Claire's with us a brief time the summer before. Hannah stayed with us during Leah's visit and joined us in a safari to Queen Elizabeth. Hannah was my first date to the Hairy Lemon island where we shared a dorm room with puking partying kayakers. She was the first to be really offended by how licky our dogs are and then, after a day or two, could be heard complaining if neither Tuna or Sahara were licking her toes.  Hannah loves our hammock almost as much as we do. She was there to witness the insanity of Felix's 28th birthday. It was the influence of Hannah (and Els) that made me start this blog.

She's been around for some good times.  Then she left us for South Sudan and never came back. In the meantime, she met the Dom, her now husband, moved to London for a year and currently resides in Nepal. Hannah herself is German but lived in the US from the age of 7 or so and Dom is an English boy who once flew planes and only grew up an hour and a half away from Whaley Bridge. Hannah likes to think this makes Dom and Phil nearly identical twins, having SO much in common.  We finally met Dom that Friday evening at a local pub where everyone was gathering. Also, it was the first time we had seen Hannah in years, although she hadn't aged a bit.

The next day, England decided to acknowledge that it was in fact Spring, and the sun shone and the clouds parted and the weather was actually nearly warm. The wedding was super sweet in a very old cathedral. We sang 'Stand By Me' accompanied by a ukulele. Then there were several hours of merriment along a reservoir with tons of prosecco, canap├ęs and croquet.  Thank goodness for that glorious sun. Dinner was in a big tent and was super yummy - rost pork, tons of gorgeous salads and nice cheeses for dessert. The toasts were touching and exactly right. Perfectly timed, no dry eyes with plenty of laughing to keep it light. Dancing went well into the night and everyone had a ball.

The next morning, we were once again, shockingly, greeted by the warm shining sun. After a breakfast on the patio of leftover delights from the night before - mainly strawberries and brownies, we said adieu  and set off to Manchester city for a fine lunch of tapas with more lovely friends and then met the brand new baby of Emma and Jim. Emma is a childhood neighbor of Felix Chill. They're really more like cousins. As luck would have it, another from the same childhood bunch, Jo, was also at Emma and Jim's to see Bay for the first time. He was such a cutie and only about a week old at the time. The parents seem to be handling everything quiet well - the house was tidy, they were clean and well dressed - making parenting look easy!

From there we headed to Courtny's house, a friend from Red Lobster days in Stillwater and also grad school in Manchester. Gina, Shadi, James and Ben were all there, too. It was a wonderful reunion doing what we do best - eating to stuffed, drinking into the night, watching music videos and YouTube, playing Whos in the Hat and catching up. The next morning, England decided it was winter again. After Phil and I awoke super early for our first breakfast of cappuccinos and scones, we headed for brunch with our amigos in the Northern Quarter. Then it was time to say goodbye and finally spend some time with Phil's family.

We got to see Phil's sister's family a few times, grandma and even an aunt and uncle. Besides a little time for shopping and sorting out paper work that had been building up at Gill's, we managed quite a few nice meals including at least two fry ups, fish and chips, and a roast dinner - making the trip a true English success, at least in Phil's book. And then it was time to go. The check in process at the airport was much smoother this time, and before we knew it, we were back in sunny Uganda. Thanks to everyone who made time to see us. We had a blast.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for making time to see US. It was wonderful. xxxx