Last Monday I was shopping on-line for a birthday present for my sister and coming up short.
Then I realized that my workload was light-ish (meaning I wouldn't have to work the weekend), so I thought, "Why not fly to the UK for my sister's birthday party on Saturday night?"
Permissions granted (wife, parents), I booked the last flight out of Boston at 10.45pm on Friday night.
Pre-flight I hung out in the BA lounge (wi-fi password Budapest in case you're interested) with mostly business-speak Brits, all resplendent in their v-neck sweaters and expensive jeans.
The flight itself was great. I slept for 5 hours, only waking when the flight attendant shoved a cup of coffee under my nose.
When you fly Business you're given a FastTrack pass through passport control. It's only FastTrack if Heathrow assign more than one officer to the FastTrack channel. They didn't. Consequently it took an age to get through passport control. I'm doubly stupid because I also had my UK passport which would have got me through in SuperFastTrack!
Adding to my woes were the wheelchair bound passengers (stay with me here), who hadn't filled out their Customs forms but were allowed to write them without going to the back of the line.
Next was a highlight. Into the BA Lounge, and you can get a shower and change of clothes.
You have to provide your own change, it's not like BA give you jeans and t-shirt while you shower.
I still had time for a quick look-see in the Duty Free. I needed a simple dark t-shirt. I bought an over-priced button down shirt instead. Power of retail!
Quick flight up to Leeds and Avis had saved me a Vauxhall Corsa - a perfectly fine car!
The airport is real close to where I used to work, so the drive to my parents house was a trip down commuting memory lane ... again not a real lane. Side note - there are several Memory Lanes in Massachusetts.
Afternoon at my parents house was time to see their new kitchen and watch the FA Cup Final.
And then party time. I hadn't told my sister or her family I was coming, so I was able to pull off the 'ta-da' moment when I arrived at the party. I think Lorraine was happy to see me!
I forgot one part of British partying, the long list of synchronized dance move songs. There was an hour where a bunch of increasingly drunken nurses (my sister's work-mates) owned the dance floor with seriously complex dance moves.
Luckily they all had Sunday morning off!
Next morning I had a nice few hours with mum and dad and a quick half hour with my surprisingly hangover free sister, before I headed back to the airport.
On the way I listened to reaction to England's World Cup squad. Years of corrective re-calibration of lowered expectation was shattered in 20 minutes of "Could this be our year?" Pretty sure the answer will be no.
The quick flight to London was livened up by an old lady who drank 8 shots of vodka during the 35 minute flight. She also complained 4 times, each time beginning with "I don't like to complain but ..."
My second day of Heathrow shopping was magazine and Cadbury's orientated for Anne.
I'd planned to visit Gordon Ramsey's airport restaurant, but it was closed because a pipe burst.
I'd booked to fly home Economy, but as I boarded the flight attendant said, "Ah, 24B, we've some good news for you." And indeed they did as I snuggled into my fully reclining seatbead in Business class.
And that's how I spent 24 hours in the UK for my sister's birthday. Happy 50th Lorraine!