Tuesday 18th July 2017
We are rapidly coming to the end of a very short but enjoyable trip home. We celebrated Ricks Mum’s 90th birthday on Saturday and Matt’s graduation on Tuesday.The decision to fly back to the UK was only taken a few weeks ago and we managed to keep it secret enough for the big ‘Ta Da’ entrance at Rick’s Mum’ s party. But our presence was a close run thing.
Never again will we transit through the US. Our first hurdle came when we discovered that even to pass through the airport we needed an electronic visa. The process of application for the both of us took us about 21/2 hrs, that was 15mins longer than we were actually in the country. This short transit time was set out by the airline itinerary, we assumed it would be ok. Had we known that the US has no international transit system we would have thought again. It took us over an hour just in the immigration queue, we ran to the baggage reclaim, picked up our luggage and sprinted to the next queue, customs check, another mad dash and we were in the queue for the lifts, then with one final spurt we arrived puffing and stressed at the British Airways check-in desk 20mins before the plane was to take off and five minutes after the flight had closed. Lawrence at the desk worked wonders and with a few calls got us on to the flight. Our running however was not over as we then had to re-enter US customs with the enevitable queues and get to the gate. Flagged on by a BA member of staff we reached the plane a few minutes before take off.
Unfortunately our luggage was not so lucky and didn’t make the flight, so another fretful night was spent imaging the big party entrance marred by us flouncing into the proceedings in our travelling clothes. But British Airways, efficient again, ensured our bags were couriered to us, they arrived just in time for a quick whisk over with the iron.
Ricks Mum was, of course, delighted and we had a lovely family day.
Since then we have whizzed around the South East of England visiting family and a few friends. The warm and mostly sunny weather has been a real bonus, we haven’t been in the UK during summer for three years and we have enjoyed gardens in full bloom, green countryside and pleasant evenings taking advantage of the long hours of daylight.
There is always some new bit of technology that confuses us on our return, this time it was ‘caution’. Every now and again our hire car would announce ‘caution’, we couldn’t work out what was triggering it. Ten miles later ‘caution’, fives miles ‘caution’, twenty miles ‘caution’ , it became rather irritating and we assumed it must be being triggered by a proximity alarm, but there seemed to be no consistency. A few hundred miles later we finally worked it out, it was warning us as we approachedspeed cameras, ‘caution’ suddenly became our friend.
The ten days went very quickly and we are now heading for the airport, our waistlines larger and our luggage full of English tea, boat spares and new deck shoes. Although saying goodbye to everyone is always difficult, I’m glad to say the excitement of our trip through the Pacific is still fresh, we are looking forward to being back on board Raya and back out to the islands.