Monday, February 21, 2011

21/2/11 Mom and Dad visit London: Day 1

     Sean and I were excited for our first visitors.  We had the flat cleaned all nice, the downstairs bedroom set up and a rough plan of action.  My parents left the States Saturday afternoon and made it through the snowstorms and fierce wind and landed in the UK Sunday morning. We woke up Sunday ready to go but saw that their flight had been delayed an hour so we took our time leaving the house.  Then we realized it may be on time. Then we didn't know what time it would land so we decided to call a cab and get our butts to the airport.  The cab lady said "no no, you'll have time to take the tube, don't spend your money on us." Oh. Ok then.  We headed out but knew that the tube was under construction so we would have to take a bus first to get to the other underground line.  Out on the street we hopped on the first bus and started on our way.  Well, it's always an adventure when you're trying to get somewhere.  The bus was a replacement bus so it didn't have a "regular" route.  Instead there was a guy standing next to the driver with a photocopied map in his hand "directing" the driver where to go.  We did a bunch of loops and realized they had no clue where they were going.  After about 30 minutes of pointless driving the bus stopped.  In front out on the road were a few other buses stopped and people standing in the street.  Then we saw police fly past, then ambulances, then firetrucks.  Just ahead of us a house had exploded and the street was littered with bricks, roofing tiles, and who knows what else.  A house exploded.  It was crazy!

     Later that evening we looked it up in the news and read that no one was really hurt and the cause was a gas build up.  There was debris everywhere. Bricks were speared into the ground, the trees in the park across the street were filled with garbage. Insane.  I don't understand how no one got hurt. The police started to push people out of the area and the bus driver told us that they weren't going to move.  We asked a little old lady in an apron if we could walk to our stop and she said no, it was too far, so we decided to head out to the main road and catch another bus.  About five minutes into the walk we realized we should look at the map and see if WE could walk.  Ok, only about a mile and a half walk.  We could do it.  We hoofed it, nervous that we were going to miss their flight coming in and they'd be wandering around the airport.  Sean and I got on the tube and rode the rest of the way to the airport.  
    When we got to the airport we weren't sure if the plane had landed and they had come through already or if they were still getting through customs.   Nervously, we paced the international arrivals area and then glued our eyes on the exit.  There they were!! Our weary travelers!

Ta da! Sean and his purple welcome sign!
They made it! 

    Their flight was ok.  A lot quicker than they thought but they didn't sleep much.  My mom kept waking up my dad to show him the pretty clouds, the girl next to them kept wanting to get up and go to the bathroom and then the flight attendants wanted to serve them food.  In a way it was good that they were so tired because later that night they defeated their US time schedule and went to bed at a reasonable time.  
    Sean called us a cab from the airport and we drove back to Chiswick avoiding the tube, buses and exploding houses road blocks.  After a quick tour of the flat and a couple of nibbles we headed straight for the river.  It was a cold drizzly day but it's always a good walk down by the water.  

Walkin' down by the river.  Dreary day. 

Dinghies stranded during low tide.

   The tide was low and we walked down to the Kew Bridge then back towards Chiswick.  By this time we were frozen and needed to warm up in a toasty pub.  

Happy Sean with his beer. 

Mom with her wine, Dad with his beer.
Everyone happy that they were thawing out.
   We were lucky and got a seat next to one of the fireplaces.  There was a football game playing on the big screen.  Between the tiredness, coldness and excitement their first beers and wine were well deserved.  Yup...that's right...Dad had a beer!  We hung out in the pub for a while then walked across the street for an early meal.  Sunday roast.  

At Sunday Roast but way too tired to keep eyes open for
a photo. So....might as well take one with eyes completely
closed. Cheers!

Roast and Yorkshire pudding!
Fork in your left hand!
     It was a delicious meal but despite it only being 5:30 pm everyone was tired and falling asleep.  It was back to the flat for us where we relaxed and forced our eyes open till a decent bed time.  We tried to plan out our trip for the rest of the week but quickly realized that there was just so much to do.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can get some good sight seeing in!  Cheers to London!

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