When we weren’t able to go tot he UK con last year, I was terribly disappointed, and swore that this year would be different. But due to a variety of medical and other financial drains this year, we really weren’t in a position to afford to go, and I finally admitted this a few months ago. “Well,” asked kitanzi, being the sensible sort, “can we afford for just you to go?”
We discussed this for a bit, and figured out we could just squeeze it out, so I set off to visit the UK family by myself.
Since by luck my flight over to the UK was on the same plane as bedlamhouse and ladyat, I drove over to their place and left my car so I could ride down with them. With one thing or another, we got to the airport and through security with only barely enough time to kick back for a drink at the Crown Club before heading down to our gate (made more complicated by my realization I’d left my boarding pass back at our table and having to run back for it — where they told me it wasn’t a problem, they could have just printed me a new one at the gate. Next time I’ll know…)
The flight itself was pretty uneventful. It was probably one of the most comfortable flights across the Atlantic I’ve had, as the plane was largely empy — I don’t think more than half of the coach section was filled, and probably it was closer to a third. As usual, I didn’t sleep on the plane for more than about an hour, so I watched almost all of the in-flight entertainment. The movie was “The Queen” with Helen Mirren, and it was absolutely marvelous. I’ll be picking it up on DVD when it comes out. There was the usual assortment of sitcoms, travel documentaries, and music videos, and a re-run of House that was at least a pleasant diversion. At one point, I woke up from a light doze and looked out my window in time to see the lights of, I believe, Reykjavik down below. At one point in the early pre-dawn, I saw another jet off in the distance, and watched it as it tracked over the horizon on its way to who knows where.
We set down at Gatwick airport a bit earlier than projected, and breezed through customs in no time flat. I parted ways with Bill and Brenda as they stopped for morning tea, opting to start my journey by train to New Cross, where I’d be crashing overnight with telynor and filceolaire before heading down to Basingstoke for the convention. The trip from the airport to London Bridge was uneventful, but then I made a fatal mistake.
I failed to Mind The Gap.
I was running to get on the train, which predictably stopped with the doors equally inconvenient to me on either side. As I stepped onto the deck of the train, someone behind me tapped me on the bank and pointed. I saw the battery case cover and battery of my phone lying on the platform. I jumped back off and got them, and started to look around for my phone. I was only just starting to panic when my good Samaritan got my attention again and pointed. Down. And there, down on tracks, lying on the gravel, was my phone.
I failed to Mind The Gap, and The Gap ate my phone.
I stared at it for a moment, muttered an expletive, and shrugged my shoulders and got back on the train. There wasn’t much I could see to do about it at the time. If I’d been more awake, I’d have gone looking for a porter, but at that point I was just trying to get to my destination. I arrived at New Cross Station tired and cranky and slogged across the park to Gwen and Joe’s flat, and was warmly greeted by Gwen and pola_bear, who were waiting for me. I collapsed on the sofa and told them about my phone, and Gwen quickly found the number for Lost and Found at London Bridge Station. She explained what had happened, and the man said “Is it a silver T-mobile phone?” We told him it was, and he said “Well, I’m holding it, but the battery is missing.” I assured him that was quite alright, and got instructions where I could retrieve it. Having sorted that out, Emily and I accompanied Gwen on the bus to a nearby Underground station, where she then went off to work and Emily and I proceeded on to London Bridge, found the Lost+Found office, and got my phone. I popped the battery back in, found to my delight that it still worked, and we headed back to the flat by way of New Cross Gate, stopping at a little Jamaican deli to grab me some brunch — barbecue chicken, mac&cheese, some fried plantains and a bottle of Ginger beer. Yum.
Having been fed, my fatigue began to set in, so I went and laid down for a nap. A few hours later, Gwen’s son G. woke me up, so I hung out with him and chatted a bit, and then I’m afraid I played Stern Uncle Rob and directed him to do a number of chore-like activities before his mom came home. I even got him to do the washing up, which astonished Gwen, who informed me that he hates that job.
Eventually, the household congregated and Chinese takeout was sent for, and then Gwen insisted on showing me the first episode of the delightfully trippy crime drama Life On Mars. Oh wow. I’ve downloaded the entire first season since I’ve gotten home, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of it.
We stayed up talking much too late, and then eventually stumbled off to sleep, with dreams of filk cons dancing in our heads. Being the only person in the house who wasn’t slated to be on the concom over the weekend, I have to say I, at least, slept very well.
End part one…