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leaving the US of A...

Monday, July 11, 2016
(Statue in a London Park of Charlie Chaplin, was born in London, though most of his career was spent in the US. I forget why he became a persona-non-grata in the states, but do know he spent his waning years as a near-recluse in Switzerland.)

...was a pretty complicated procedure. Packing, for who-knows-what sort of weather? Hot, cold, wet, dry, soggy, damp, or xyz? Putting on layers works for me, so I packed enough to be able to keep warm, as well as discard as needed, peeling them off when the weather was pleasant. Plus the constant checking on 'where is my passport?' when squeezing everything into the suitcase.

I had the time to putter around the house on July 1, getting all the laundry done and put away, before leaving town around noon to head to Decatur. The flight from ATL departed around 9:00 pm, but concern about processing through security was weighty. Meaning we had hours to kill when we got through the TSA for international flights, and waiting at the gate for boarding. Interestingly, Delta had oversold that particular trip, and we heard numerous announcements asking people to give up their seats in exchange for tempting benefits of rescheduling. We did not.

I knew we would be a long time getting there, leaving at 9'ish in the evening on Friday, arriving at Heathrow at nearly noon on Saturday. And I also knew I do not sleep well sitting up, expecting to not get any rest during the trip up the eastern seaboard and across the north Atlantic. But for some unknown reason, failed to factor in spending the night in my clothes.

Admittedly there have been times I have slept in my day wear:  exhaustion, excessive coldness making me unwilling to peel off layers. But the failure to go to bed has not been one of the reasons. Until recently, upon spending the night sitting bolt upright in a narrow airline seat, wishing for sleep, drugs or a rubber mallet.

There was some turbulence, which is another reason sleep would have been beneficial. To be oblivious when the huge metal tube is jouncing you around, being blissfully unaware of sudden, expected lifting entirely from your assigned seat due to sudden drops while in flight. Several times over the vast ocean, and quite a bit when descending into UK airspace. But obviously survivable.

We arrived in London, with nothing to declare in customs, so quickly got through the entry process, to find the cousin who would be meeting us. Thankful for a 'native', who would guide us through the complications of London traffic, and out into the English countryside. Which is beautiful, lush, green, lots of wildflowers blooming along the right of way. The fact that the country is on a island contributes to the plentiful rainfall, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your tolerance for constant damp. Reminding me of Florida, where you realize if you don't like the weather, you only need to wait an hour for something entirely different.

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