Up at 5:45 am to begin the long journey east to my childhood homeland. Well now, technically it’s not, but in a “unified” sense it is.....Great Britain.
Great Britain of course is the name given to the island that compromises England, Wales and the home of my birth, “Bonnie Scotland.”
We of course use the term, “The United Kingdom” but that name actually refers to the aforementioned countries plus, Northern Ireland, another place near and dear to my heart since I spent several summers there as a boy during my school holidays. Sadly, my last memory of Northern Ireland, was awakening one morning to the fact that there was a soldier in full battle gear, rifle at the ready, outside the front doorway of my auntie’s house whom we were staying with. This was the summer of 1969 and the “troubles” were just about to begin. My grandmother and I left Belfast for home, and I have never seen it since.
On this trip however, I will not be visiting Scotland nor Belfast and therefore, England ....will just have to do, lol.
Seriously though, I love London. I enjoy her immensely. The history. The swagger. The pubs! Oh and of course, the “football!” Yes I said football, because as anyone plainly knows, it is performed with the feet. The game we in North America know and love that we call football, should of course be called, “Throwball” but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.
I never take my car to the airport if I am going to be gone more than 4 days and so with the assistance of technology, I texted for an UBER around 6:45am and off I went. My car was indeed “uber-comfy” and we were at the airport in no time.
Flight was smooth and uneventful. I spent the time writing, all the while with headphones on and a movie playing in the background. One of my all-time favourites was playing. I have seen it so much I could watch it with no sound and provide you with all of the dialogue myself;
“Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish maidens.
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain.
For we’ve received orders for to sail back to Boston.
So never no more shall we see you again.”
Okay......name the movie.
Say what you want about Air Canada, it to me, remains one of the top airlines in the world and when everything goes to plan, it’s great.
All airlines have their shit-fests and we all know how frustrating that can be but when you travel as much as I have and still do, you tend to roll with the punches and take the shit-fests in stride. After all, what can you do? I tend to hunker down in the lounge and just read and write to pass away the time, or sleep!
The movie I wrote of earlier was of course JAWS, starring, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and the amazing Robert Shaw, directed of course by the “one and only,” Steven Spielberg. I had the pleasure of attending a wedding recently that was also attended by Mr Spielberg. As a total movie buff I cannot tell you how surreal it was to be standing at the bar with him, both of us waiting for the young bartender’s attention that we may order our drinks. I was ordering for my wife and our dear friend, Steven on the other hand was only ordering for himself and some guy called “Hanks,” .....but that’s another story altogether.
Our flight was a good 45 mins ahead of schedule (see it’s not all shit-fests ;) We flew over London in the dark for it was 8:30pm their time. I far prefer taking flights to UK that leave Canada in the morning rather than take the night flights that get you there the following morning. I am always completely dragged out flying through the night and walking off the plane at 6:45am then dragging your ass into the city, checking into hotel by say, 11:30am, and you now decide to try and “stay awake” all through the day and evening in order to go to bed at a proper time. Fuck that! It’s a nightmare. This way you leave in morning and you land in evening as close to normal as you can possibly have while going across the Atlantic.
Headed to passport control. I have let my British Passport expire, (just laziness, MUST rectify) and so I entered the country as a Canadian, even although my Scottish accent betrayed me to the passport control officer. It always amazes me how friendly the European & British passport control officers can be and this lady was exceptional. I handed her my passport causing her to say in a strong London accent,” Wot kind of Canadian accent is that then?” I handed her my work permit allowing me to perform here and the process took about 20mins. I was in a fast-track line and got through much quicker than the others so I had to kill an hour or more waiting for them. So what was a lad supposed to do? My first UK pint in years went down a treat.
Got the iPad out and continued writing.
We grabbed a couple of taxis and headed to hotel. I was reminded just how expensive London is immediately by the fact the cab ride was £89 (for us that’s about $160) then when we sat down to have a cold beer in our hotel, the call for 5 pints was close to £30 ....ahhhh London. Of course two things, you cannot think in dollars, that just drives ya crazy and two, it’s because the Canadian dollar is so weak. The U.S. dollar holds up much stronger to the British Pound.
So we sat and chatted had a beer or two and headed to bed around 3am UK time.
Goodnight London....Goodnight boys and girls.....talk to ya tomorrow.