Friday, March 18, 2011

UK Trip. Day 1

The kids were going to school on the day we travelled to the UK. The plan was to get up and have breakfast together before the kids went to school and then I’d pick them up from school just before their lunchtime of 10.15am (yes I know it is weird to have lunch at 10am!) and then drive to the airport.
However, our alarm didn’t go off and we woke up, rather suddenly as K got into bed next to me, at 7.52am. The kids school bus picks them up at 7.52am and school starts at 8am! Cue mad dash to get them dressed and me driving them to school. No time for breakfast or anything. I pull up outside school and dropped them off. I then spent the next 2 and a bit hours making sure we had everything we needed for our trip. Ben is much better at packing than I am as he has better spatial awareness.
Our flight to Indianapolis was due to leave at 4.11pm with a connection at Newark at 6.40pm and arriving at Heathrow at 6.20am the following morning. When we got to check in the woman on the desk told us she thought 40 minutes from arriving at Newark and then getting the flight to London was too short, especially with kids. So she put us on the flight an hour later. So now we are waiting for our flight in Indianapolis and we notice that the screen in departures no longer says we are departing at 4.11pm, it now says 4.40pm. There have been no announcements or anything telling us this though.  We finally get on board the plane just after 4.40pm and we taxi to the runway. We’re then told they are holding us there for another little while as there is bad weather in Newark and a lot of flights trying to land at the same time. They would rather we wait on the ground in Indianapolis rather than circle in the air at Newark.
The flight finally takes off at about 5.20pm. We arrive in Newark with about 25 minutes before boarding of our flight to London starts. (This being less than the 40 minutes we were initially supposed to have.)
So we try to get off the plane as quickly as possible and make our way to the shuttle bus to go to Terminal C. (We had arrived at Terminal A) I update my Facebook status saying we are running late which amuses and confuses some people but I would like to point out I was “ON THE SHUTTLE BUS” and was simply wasting time. We then run down towards the gate. Z is complaining of needing to go to the restroom and that his trousers are falling down. I simply don’t want to run as I am tired and feel unwell. We make it in time to get to the gate just as they are boarding 1st class passengers. I have to remind the woman to take our I-94s that are stapled into our passports. I really don’t want to pay $330 per person to rectify the situation if they don’t take them at the gate with USCIS!
We sit on the plane and wait for takeoff. It becomes clear that the plane is not full and there are lots of empty seats so we can lie down later for a sleep. The kids decide to watch the movie “Tangled” and I start to watch “Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows. Part 1” By the time they serve dinner I am feeling quite queasy and don’t want to eat my chicken and rice. Both Z and K have the kids meal that has something resembling a burger. They also have Oreos and a packet of M&Ms each! I decide to lie down in the seats behind them and try to sleep hoping it will make me feel better. (The smell of the beef burgers is doing nothing to help my funny tummy either.)
I think I manage to doze for an hour or so. That is the first time I think I have ever managed to sleep on a plane. Z is sleeping in the row in front of me and K is sleeping, and snoring, in the row to the side. The cabin lights get turned on for breakfast and I manage to eat a croissant and some fruit. Not long after that we start the descent for landing at Heathrow.  It is at this point I have another first for all the times I have spent on a plane. I have to use the little paper sick bag. Ick, ick, icky! We land 10 or 15 minutes after the time we would have initially arrived on our first flight before we got changed!
Luckily we get through passport control and customs without incident. We just need to find the taxi that has been booked to pick us up and take us to my brother in laws flat in London. For some reason, which I still don’t quite understand, the taxi driver has decided to park outside departures. Forgive me if I’m wrong but haven’t we just arrived so we would be coming out of ‘Arrivals’?! Eventually we find him and we begin the drive across Central London, in rush hour traffic. An hour and 20 odd minutes later we arrive at his flat and relax until it is time to pick up the rental car and drive up the M1 to see my in-laws.
We drive in the rented car up the M1 to Northampton. I forgot how awful it can be driving on the M1. For a really long period of time we were stuck to driving at 50mph. We arrived and settled in with Ben’s parents and had some dinner. The kids went to bed and slept for about 16 hours. I went to bed at 8.30pm and woke up at about 10am! Roll on day 2. I am meeting a friend for lunch at a pub in town soon. I may also buy a few treats in Wh Smiths or Marks & Spencer.

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