Friday, May 13, 2011

Brit Bits Part One: The bit about the journey

We are back from our first transatlantic trip with Ms. Daisy and oh what a fabulous trip it was. I can't even begin to tell you how fantastic it was to share my heart-home with Daisy and to see her going to many of the same places and doing many of the same things that I did when I was a kid.

However, I'm going to try.

There will be a series of "Brit Bits" here on the blog, as and when I get time, maybe occasionally interspersed with other Ranty Panting about this-and-that. I want to do this trip justice in my posts and so I'm not just going to knock them out to get it done.

Day One of your trip, obvy, was the travel. Given Ms. Daisy is two, rambunctious and wilfull (to say the least), and not exactly fond of sitting in one spot for more than 3 seconds - let alone 10 hours (plus car rides to-from the airports) - it was the part none of us were looking forward to.

Personally, I just sorta blocked out all thoughts about the plane ride prior to the trip. I just didn't want to obsess about it or project. It was going to be what it was going to be and we were going either way, so not really any point in getting my knickers in a twist.

So, we started in the airport, amusing ourselves by chatting to other kids and riding the escalator up-and-down from the gate to the causeway.


Then my pics sorta stop, sorry to say. I had all these grand plans to take some cool shots in the airplane but the reality was thus:
  1. We got moved from 3 seats by a window to 3 seats in the middle, because the entertainment system was down in our original spots. So, not really a lot to take a pic of, except the back of the seat in front (which seems to be getting closer and closer to the end of my nose with each successive flight.).
  2. It was a night flight. Mum and I spent 90% of it trying to get Daisy to sleep and then the other 10% trying to get her to stay asleep.
  3. All available carry on space in front of the seat was devoted to Daisy entertainment. My camera bag resided firmly in the overhead bins for the duration of the flight.
  4. I was tired.
Regardless, Daisy did remarkably well. Did she like sitting in a plane seat? No, siree! Would she watch movies, wearing a headset? Not a chance. But was she easily occupied with books and constant, devoted attention? Sure.

The one benefit of having been moved to the middle row of seats was that the seat next to us was empty, so we had 4 seats between 3 of us. This meant that Mum and I were able to bookend the row, lift up the arm rest of the seats in the middle, and create a make-shift bed for Daisy (who will not sleep sitting up.) The disadvantage here is that she flails around so much in her sleep that Mum and I spent the entire 3.5 hours she was asleep, trying to stop her from rolling off her seats and into the leg-space between the seats in front of her. Oy!

It's the least amount of sleep I've ever had on a transatlantic flight. I watched no movies and I dozed-off only occasionally (and accidentally) from Daisy duty. However, I was not wrangling a screaming baby.

In summary: It was hard work and tiring but it was not stressful. I'll take that.

Landing at the other end, we had to go pick up the car at Heathrow airport. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, we were all excited to be out of that damn airplane and were ready to zoom down the motorway to Devon, site of many a great British holiday.

Which is when things came to a standstill.

We encountered two day-stopping challenges.
  1. The car we had reserved didn't have enough boot (trunk) space for all our luggage.
  2. The child car seats they provided proved to be all-but impossible to adjust and fit without assistance and, for liability reasons, the staff wouldn't help you fit it.
This is just one picture from the scene that ensued. Let's just say this is the calm picture. You're missing the ones with the parade of 4 unsuccessful estate (station wagon) cars, the in-and-out of suitcases, the three different car seats, and Hubby's expletives.


The car on the right is one of the first cars we tried. The car, k mini-van, on the left eventually became our "London Car", as Daisy likes to call it.

We must have been there for a good 90 minutes sorting all this out, with tempers flaring, until finally someone agreed to help us, presumably to get the angry and demanding Americans off their back. (No critique, Hubby,  it WAS ridiculous)

But then finally we were on the road for the four hour drive down to Ilfracombe, Devon. (That's right, I said 4. I mean, what's another 4 hours after 10 on a plane!?)


And finally we were able to put Daisy's portable DVD player into service, using the car-jack. Whew on that one! Mickey Mouse, Dora, and A Potty Story, seriously saved our jet-lagged asses.

I was also beginning to feel glad that we made the switch to the mini-van. The extra space in the back was so much appreciated for all of us, after being cooped up in a plane for so long. It also meant that we could manage all the various entertainment items that Ms. Daisy required, without twisting ourselves into pretzels to access them, as we would have in a smaller car.

Unfortunately, it meant more money. Doesn't it always?

We eventually arrived at our destination, just outside of Ilfracombe, Devon, in the early evening.



Which is where this particular chapter ends. Until Brit-Bit Part Two: Trimstone Manor and Ilfracombe.


e said...

So glad the flight was relatively good. No sleep is a small price to pay for no screaming raving toddler. Yay for you. Love the wide angle. Very nice. Can't wait for more!

Linh and Yogi said...

Whew, at the least no luggage was lost and everyone made it to the UK alive...haha... Just flipped through your pics on flickr. You did an awesome job with that lens!! Also you look sooo happy being back home :o)

Meghan said...

I'm hooked after reading this one....I can't wait to read all about your trip! So, you said you had 3 seats on the flight...but didn't 4 of you go on the trip? You, Joss, Daisy, and your mum?

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