Thursday, November 13, 2008
The first day in England. The flight from Atlanta was uneventful. I managed to reset my watch, and it seems, my body clock. I managed to sleep for about 4 hours on the plane, which is no small feat when your left shoulder is two feet from the lav, and so I did not feel horrendously sleep deprived upon touchdown. I have been tired to the point of dropping off on a couple of occasions today, but have managed to stay awake through a combination of brisk conversation, brisk walks, and brisk tea. Not that whimsical stuff you get in American restaurants, made with a pot of lukewarm water, but the stuff that makes you wonder why the English would ever consider drinking a cup of coffee. Normally it takes a couple of days for me to adjust to the 6 hour time difference between home and England, but I can't actually afford that luxury this time. My brother-in-law Andy, his wife Chris, and I are going to London on Thursday the 13 to hear the London Symphony. This much was known by me, but Andy has added a little lagniappe. Barbican Hall, where the symphony is performing, is a multifunctional facility, similar to the Kennedy Center. At the moment it is also hosting a showing of Robert Capa, the Pulitzer prize winning war photographer, as well as other war photographers, I think. I had known of this, thought of trying to attend, but forgot about it in the rush up to departure, but Andy has booked tickets to the showing and afterwards we shall have a three course meal before we attend the symphony. Speaking of Andy and Chris...After not seeing them in person for over 9 years, although we have skyped a couple of times this past year, we picked up, in mid-conversation over a cup of Yorkshire tea and a piece of Chris' mince pie fruit cake. Oh, is that ever good!! Think a moist light fruit cake that tastes like a mincemeat pie. After safely negotiating the minefield of the Presidential election, we discussed family, friends, and a host of other things. During the drive from Gatwick,Andy, excellent teacher that he is, (although officially retired do real teachers ever stop teaching), gave me a five minute summation of the world wide financial crisis as related to land prices. Dry, you think? Not with an old Dudley Moore/ Peter Cook Tarzan routine thrown in for illustrative purposes. Later, Andy and I went for a walk around the area, stopping by the first school at which he was employed. When I hear his list of accomplishements as a teacher, and ultimately head master, I often wish I could talk him into coming to the US and starting his own school,(make no mistake, he could pull it off if he wanted to), or at least look for a principal position in an existing school. After a lunch of ham sandwiches and tomato and basil consomme, I called Anthea and we got skype ready. It was wonderful to see her and she looked up some reservatin information for me. I did a bit of research on car rental, finally settling on one I booked a couple of weeks ago. Then Andy and I looked at possible areas of interest for his and Chris' excellent RV adventure to the American West next year. Sitting in the kitchen, and Chris' way, whilst she prepared her Stilton and Pear Pie, we watched the episode of As Time Goes By where Lionel and Jean finally get married, and then watched the Strictly Come Dancing update show while eating the finished product. Unbelievable how good it is. Around 8 we visited Lucie and Nick at their home which they are remodelling. It was my only real chance to meet Nick, as we are off to London tomorrow and on Friday he is off to Turkey in order to indulge that inate desire that every man has of being a human kite!! It was great to see Lucie, and I am very proud of the fact that not once did we bring up the occasion of our first meeting. You know, that old schtick that adults do with younger people-"I remember when...". Looking at a family picture of my family, the subject of me shaving my beard in order to be an extra in a movie came up, including in which movies I had been used as an extra. She and Nick had one on DVD, so we fast forwarded to my 3 seconds of fame. I have 14 minutes 57 seconds left. At times it almost seems a thing of destiny, this trip, yet I want to be careful not to expect too much, while not limiting the possibilites. Indeed, as I type this, I have yet to arrange accomodation on the continent. I have some ideas of where to stay, but nothing confirmed. Well, tomorrow is another day. Actually, it is here now, as I have typed well past midnight. Make that 1. I think my body clock may have betrayed me a bit.