The London Trip - Day 7 - Back to Virginia Beach

13th February 2003

I was up early really early. Plane was due to leave at 8am, they want you there by 6am, so I was up at 4:30am just to be safe. Tried to have a shower. Bugger. That wasn't possible. I got cold water at first, eventually got hot, but this shower arrangement had some weird sort pump to move the water up the spout and it was noisy and didn't work. I gave up the shower idea and did a sort of squatting armpit and crutch wash. Not my idea of a good wash, but necessity must.

Packed quickly, checked out, and got to Earls Court Station at about 5:20am. Got the right platform, had to wait for the staff to turn on the lift before I could get to it, and then found that the first train didn't arrive till 6am. Nothing to do but wait, and make mental notes to stay at Heathrow next time if I'm leaving this early.

The train came, and it got me to Heathrow pretty quickly. I was there about 6:40am, so I was a bit pushed for time. Checked in, lost the luggage and then lined up for the security check. Security was pretty tight with the current scare. The searches were pretty thorough, but I passed them all, and I had even more metal on me than when I went through the metal detectors at Norfolk, and nothing beeped.

Then I had to do a rapid walk to almost the last gate. I was expecting it to be the last gate, so that was no surprise. They were already boarding when I got there, but I still had one more metal detector test to take and then hurry up and sit down and wait to be called. Finally, boarded and sat beside a young Irishman. After a few minutes, I realised the jumbo was mostly empty so I left him saying we could both be comfortable and I moved to the opposite aisle seat. I had the whole row to myself.

It was a comfortable trip, with no problems. The meal was served and I ate all but the piece of chicken. The chicken looked incredibly tempting, beautifully cooked, golden crust, and I was severely tempted. I left it. I think in future, I will stop being so shy about it and will register as vegetarian and ask for the special vegetarian meals and that way I won't be tempted again.

Landed at Washington, went through immigration and customs easily, and boarded the flight for Norfolk. Same tiny little plane. The hostie said that the trip was going to be turbulent and to be prepared. I was wedged into one of the back seats again, so I wasn't going anywhere if the plane did bounce.

When we lifted from Washington, the view from the window was impressive. They had had even more snow, and the land was brown and white rectangles.

[Just outside Washington DC
by plane]

When we got to Hampton Roads, there was no snow evident, although it did look a bit damp.

[Hampton Roads approach by
plane]

Finally got to Norfolk, and Anne drove me home. The streets seemed so strange. I felt very strange, until I worked out what it was. The streets were so wide, so huge, so empty, with so much empty space around them and the houses were so far apart and there was hardly anyone on the streets. This was a very different street scene to where I'd come from.

And I was home, and I was even more restless than when I left. I am eager to go back and see more of Britain. I had fun there and enjoyed it far more than I thought I would enjoy it. What I'd really like is to go and live there some day. Now that would be fun.

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