Sunday, May 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home Away From Home

I've finally been to London often enough that I no longer need to spend 30 minutes refreshing myself on how to get to the city.  My flight was wonderfully short compared to flying here from the Southwest, although I did have time to watch two movies (Last Chance Harvey, which was darling, and Bolt, which I had wanted to see forever--I identify with the little hamster.)  I fought off jet lag as long as I could but inevitably ended up wasting half the afternoon in bed.
The Heathrow Express is fantastic.  The ride into London is so brief it's almost annoying when you've met someone really nice to talk to.  I spent the end of the customs line and the trip to London with a truly charming merchant marine (no, seriously) who was home for a visit from the Virgin Islands.  He didn't seem to think of himself as particularly English any more--he moved away a long time ago.  But he greeted me with typical English understatement.  At the end of the customs line the carpet unexpectedly gives way to bare cement framed by tatters and threads, and he said, "the carpet's a bit threadbare, isn't it?"  We had a fine chat, and it was actively disappointing when the train pulled into Paddington so promptly.
My folks and I spent the morning walking along the Regent's Canal, which was lovely despite the fact that we headed in the wrong direction and didn't end up in Regent's Park.  Another charming Englishman kindly stopped to help us while we pored over our maps, and gently set us down going back the way we'd come.  It was still lovely weather and a lovely day--the canal was full of baby birds (mostly geese, but some other water birds as well).
Today's the field trip to Bletchley Park...

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