Monday, April 29, 2013

Heading to London

We are flying to London tonight for about a week. I'd be more excited if I believed it was really happening, but this was an almost-last-minute decision and it hasn't quite sunken in yet. I'm numb, although I already miss the cats. Like just about every Bostonian these days, we are more than ready for a vacation.

I've visited London once, but only for an afternoon, so I'm not sure it counts. We were waiting between flights from Boston to Cairo, exhausted and not convinced it made sense to leave Heathrow... when I discovered I'd lost my passport. (I'd dropped it on the ramp as we boarded the plane, after showing it at the gate.) We spent a whirlwind few hours getting photographs taken in Boots so I could get a new passport at the Consulate, which was miraculously open on a Sunday. (I had the most bleary-eyed passport photo in history.) We also rode in an old-fashioned cab and a double-decker bus, had a plowman's lunch in a pub, met some friends, and shopped in the Food Court at Harrod's. It was a memorable afternoon in many ways — my husband had initially threatened to travel to Egypt himself if I couldn't get a passport, leaving me to survive as an illegal-alien dishwasher or cleaner, or so I imagined. That had some appeal at the time.

It's taken us 14 years to board another plane for London. I hope I don't lose my passport again, although it turned into a lot of fun in 1999.

The other thing I vividly remember about that London afternoon is that I had to shlepp an archaeologist's red-and-white striped meter stick (like a yardstick, used for photography) everywhere because it didn't fit in our checked bags and toting it was my assignment for the trip.  It was nicknamed "the Stück." Somewhere there are photos of me and the Stück in Harrod's and a pub; I was probably clutching it for my passport photo, too.

So no wonder I dropped my passport with that goofy thing to lug around. The Stück is not coming this time. But I'm bringing plenty of other stuff.

As usual, I packed my 21" plum-colored spinner with enough for a month: skirts, jeans, leggings, too many tees, button-downs, sweaters, two coats, scarves, pjs, tights,  socks, undies, sandals, flats, and flip flops — which are not exactly chic but are my favorites for walking long distances. Depending on where I look, the weather will be warm and sunny or cold and damp. I'd prefer cool and gray, the way London is supposed to be. I'm wearing boots and a Barbour on the plane, where it will be cold for sure.

While I'm glad it was easy to zip my carry-on, the Good Packer award goes to my husband. His 25" suitcase is also packed for a week, but it is only half full. "We'll be shopping," he said when I saw his suit swimming by itself in one compartment. I persuaded him to add a blazer and my umbrella for ballast, but there's still space for a ton of souvenirs. If you want me to bring you something and you know my email address, fire away. Next trip, we'll get him a carry-on bag like mine.

I still need to pack food for the flight. I don't like a single thing about airplane food, and I've gotten sick from it a few times. I plan to get some Trader Joe's Wine Country Chicken Salad, which I'll freeze so it's still chilled on the plane. We like their new Soft Pretzel Sticks; if only they had a bit of salt to temper their sweetness. I'm also packing fruit, cheese, cookies, trail mix, and protein bars. If there is a famine in London, we'll be fine for awhile.

I'm playing with Wendy and the kittens as I write this. We're going to miss them so much, but we're afraid they will miss us even more. They will get some quality time with our cat sitter at least twice a day, but they're used to getting attention any time they want it. Possum and Wendy know what the appearance of our suitcases means... I hope they tell that kittens that we always come back.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post as frequently from there as I'd like, since I'm not taking my laptop, but I'll try. If not, brace yourself for a torrent of photos and commentary when I return.

1 comment:

  1. Have a great time! One of my favorite cities - I can go back again and again and never get tired of it.


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