Saturday, June 27, 2015

England Vacation - Journal - Part 1 - Outward Journey

Thank you all so very much for leaving my father-in-law all those kind and cheerful messages.  They meant more than I will ever be able to put into words.   

Now onto my holiday journal.  

May 30th, 2015

This is an exciting day as this afternoon we leave for England to meet up with my niece and her husband.   They will pick us up at the train station near my home town in South Devon.  Son will be picking us up this afternoon at around 3 o'clock.  Our plane should be taking off at 5.30 p.m.  

It is 2.10 p.m. and we have just left the house.  We are on our way.  The ride to the airport went smoothly.  We said goodbye to our son and told him we would be sending lots of photos.

A short while later in the waiting area before boarding our plane, we talked to a lovely young man from London.  He had just finished a semester at a university in Wyoming.  The three of us talked for an hour or more about his experiences.  He had had a great time making lots of friends from all over the world.  We enjoyed listening to him.  His mother was waiting for him in London and he was eager to see her, a delightful young man.

5.51 p.m. and we are on the plane.  We went through security quite quickly.  We had an hour-and-a-half wait and once on board saw that the plane was 100 percent full.  

6.35 p.m.  We have been on the plane for a while and the pilot just told us we were returning to the gate because they were having mechanical difficulties with one of the engines.  Not sure what this means.  Hope we are not too late but certainly safety comes first.  We occupy ourselves by reading.  Look what I brought along Cloudia.  I hadn't read it in a while and I wanted to take another look.

7.10 p.m. and still at the gate waiting for the maintenance crew to fix the problem.  They can't turn on the air-conditioning.  It is becoming very humid.  The flight attendants are bringing water around.

7.37 p.m. they tested the engine and it appears to be okay.  They are closing the doors and waiting for the okay papers from the maintenance department.   Well, that's good!

7.39 p.m. the captain says it is a go.  Now if only they can hurry up with those papers.

7.41 p.m. we are backing out of the gate.

We are leaving the ground, forgot to take a note of the time.

9.45 p.m. we have 4 hours and 40 minutes to our destination.

These seats are great.  Gregg got Row 30, over the wing and near the bathroom but there are only two of them so we don't have to worry about sitting next to anyone, and won't be climbing over if anyone falls asleep.  Plenty of leg room in front also and you don't feel like a sardine in a can.  It's a bigger plane - the 777-200, yes with only two engines but nice to know they are both working well!!!    This is a very comfortable flight and there is no moaning from me about the tight squeeze, there was none.

At 12.39 a.m. we have 1 hour and 45 minutes before we got to our destination.

Almost there!  I took several photos as we flew over London.  I can just make out the London Eyethe Shard and the Gherkin.  That is the Thames River of course.

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

10.13 p.m. and what a lovely day it has been.  We touched down in Heathrow at about 7.30 a.m. UK time, 12.30 p.m. American.  I did not sleep the whole flight but it seemed to go quickly. 

Horrendously long walk through Heathrow to get to the customs area.  Horrendously long time to get to see a custom's officer, but for the amount of people that go through that place (there must have been well over a thousand people in line) they did very well and were very polite when it was our turn.  

Horrendously long walk to get to the Paddington Express.  We waited at Paddington for about an hour-and-a-half for our train to Devon.   

The operative word here is "horrendously".  By this time we have been awake for 24 hours and feeling it, but happy I might add.

We got on the train and the journey took three-and-a-half hours.  There was a group of young adults heading to a wedding, as far as I could make out.  They were all excited and giggly and sitting right in front of us.  I was painfully tired but could not begrudge these young people their fun, and they were a very nice group, just very talkative, giggly and loud, and happily off to a wedding which I heard all about.

Once the train track reaches the coastline this is when I know I am nearing home, and that little shot of adrenalin hits me.  It is a wonderful feeling.  I love that part of the journey where all of a sudden you can see the water.  It is hard not to reflect on all the times I made this journey, so many times over the years, with this exact same feeling.  I would soon be home with my family.  

And there they were.  They had reached the end of their journey a few hours earlier, having driven all the way from Germany.  Our niece and her husband met us at the train station and it was a great reunion.  We were so tired we forgot to take photos!  It has been 19 months since the last time we saw them but as always happens with those you love, it was like no time had passed, and it is so much easier to keep in touch these days isn't it, what with Skype, Facetime, texting and all?  

They took us to the cottage they had rented and we were delighted.  It had it's own private little garden behind a big gate, a lovely old place with so many neat features.....

a walk-in fireplace was one of them.  A small wood stove occupied this space.   I loved the look of the front door.  

We talked and talked and talked.  In the evening we went to the local pub and had a delicious meal.  

Here are my lovelies.  That first night was very, very special.

It was a perfect evening, one of many.

When we got back to the cottage we were all ready for bed and oh boy, did we all sleep well.  I took this photo of our bedroom the next morning.

More to come.


  1. great photos! Glad you had such a wonderful time!

  2. Wow, all that and no sleep. Enjoyed this, Denise, and the pictures were great. We were once stuck on an aeroplane at Naples Airport, not even allowed to get off while they sorted out a 'problem'. All was well eventually but it's a bit nerve racking.

  3. i had no idea you had to add the hours on the train to those on the plane.. that is some long trip. you all look so very happy and i know it was worth it. love the door and i love that stove in the fireplace., so much better than trying to burn a fire in that big space...

  4. How wonderful! You must have been exhausted after going without sleep for over 24 hours. Lovely photos.
    Hope Gully is feeling better.

  5. Hello Denise, sounds like an awesome vacation and reunion with your family. Even though it is a long trip the traveling is still so exciting. Wonderful series of photos! Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week!

  6. Ah, a virtual vacation trip with you! Thanks for bringing me along!

  7. I always enjoy reading your posts of your visits back home.

  8. It's funny how we can be so tired after the transatlantic journey,but once we see our loved ones we perk up!
    Lovely cottage!
    Jane x

  9. Looking forward to reading more and see more of your holiday.

  10. I can just imagine how you feel coming home...when I go home to Tennessee, and turn down the final road to home, I always tear up a little bit.

  11. Not a good start to your flight Denise, but finally they got you on your way....
    I must admit my heart was skipping a bit as you ventured closer to your beloved Devon, especially when the coastline came into view and you caught a glimpse.
    It's a feeling no one can describe unless you've experienced leaving your homeland.
    The cottage was is a delight, next time I venture home, it's what we will stay in.....
    Glad you had a lovely visit and looking forward to more pictures.

  12. Thank you for sharing your journey. It felt like I was right there with you. Waiting for more.

  13. Other than the plane travel you seem to have had a wonderful trip. I can tell you were bored with the wait. A lovely cottage.

  14. Thank you so much for taking us with you.
    I hope Gully is doing better. Much better.

  15. That was a marathon which you seem to have survived very nicely.

  16. Lovely just lovely ! I haven't been to England in years .I used to go every year to see family /cousins, aunties , uncles and my Nana . I found out a few years ago I have relatives in Scotland to . I have never been there one day I will go there and back to England it is on my bucket list ! Thanks for sharing , looking forward to the rest of this trip lol ! Have a good day !

  17. Wonderful post, Denise, and I love your photos. Thanks so much for sharing this tour, and your header is gorgeous!

  18. What an exciting trip, Denise!
    Looking forward to the rest of the posts...
    Have a Wonderful Week!
    Peace :)

  19. Oh my! This is so wonderful! I love the feeling of going along with you on this journey. I hope the temperature stayed comfortable. I remember one awful flight where it was never fixed and we really suffered. How wonderful to be together with loved ones again.

  20. Gosh I saw the second post first but i see you have some great shots from the plane before you arrived. You all looks happy and I know from reading the 2nd post you all had a wonderful time.

  21. I can imagine how well you slept after all that time awake! Great shots!

  22. Love the aerial view shot.

  23. Hi Denise, it's really lovely being able to follow you on your trip back to the UK and as you re-visit all those childhood memories. Thanks for taking us along :D)

  24. Oh, Denise, I could feel the excitement! How wonderful to get to go home, and to meet your niece & her hubby there. And I could feel how tired you were...those Atlantic crossings are so brutal! But I am glad you had a good flight, and got there safely. So much to share & catch up on! And I love the little rental cottage!

  25. How exciting for you to go "home" and to be with family again. Like all long haul flights the worst bit is the waiting. Glad you got there safely. The cottage looks grand.

  26. Oh the seems that not everything goes so well when traveling overseas...I have had lost luggage and long waits...but your final destination looks wonderful.

  27. I was waiting for you to say it was time for sleep. You did ALl of that on no sleep. Wow!