Sleep eluded us most of the night and all too early, the alarm jarred us out of our uneasy rest. We were still groggy as we stumbled through the cottage making our final preparations before leaving…..pots set on the floor (hopefully placed correctly for maximum leakage catching), appliances unplugged, garbage bags placed over electronics, area rug moved from under to over the couch, garbage taken out, gas turned off…..hope we didn’t forget anything.
Felix, ever the astute cat, knew something was afoot and hid (not too inconspicuously) under the table where he was easily scooped up and placed in his carrier. He was quiet….very quiet…..during the hour long drive to Chateau Miaou but he seemed to perk up after we arrived. He quickly exited the carrier and made himself at home in the large corner room.
We made a swift departure and headed to Toulouse with time to spare. We had planned to arrive early so we could explain the additional information we had added to the accident report. It was not to be. As soon as we entered the city, the traffic came to a standstill. The drive to the airport…..normally 15 minutes…..stretched into an hour. As we finally approached the exit to the airport, we saw the cause of the delay…..a minor fender-bender right at the airport’s off-ramp. Grrrrrr.
A very understanding agent looked over our paperwork, assured us all was well and told us to go catch our plane. Whew!
With only a short line ahead of us at British Airways, we were able to check in promptly and pick-up Craig’s boarding passes. We headed toward the departure gate and had our passports stamped with an exit stamp. Before too long, we boarded the plane for the two-hour flight to London.
We had a short layover…..just enough time for a quick bite (worst hamburger ever) before our boarding gate was announced. With five terminals, Heathrow is HUGE and can be challenging to manuever through but our gate was nearby and, after going through Security, we were near the front of the boarding line.
We slowly inched up to the gate agent and finally handled over our boarding passes. Mine was given a green light but when Craig’s was scanned, a red light was flashing. He was quickly approached by a very burly gentleman and advised that he had been selected for a random search. Random? Methinks this was preordained…..and the reason why we couldn’t print his boarding passes on-line.
Craig, toting all three of our carry-on’s, was led to a separate (but very public) area where he and our bags were throughly searched as our fellow passengers breezed by looking quizically at the activity to their left. As one gentleman conducted the search, the other gentleman…..the burly one…..engaged Craig in conversation while effectively blocking his exit. I stood helplessly by, listening to their conversation, wondering if the ever-gregarious Craig would say something that would land us in MI6 Headquarters.
But Craig passed inspection and we were soon entering the 747 that would take us home. Our seats were in the rear of the plane…..we had paid a little extra to be in a row with only two seats and a little extra room next to the window. We settled in for the 10 hour flight to San Francisco. With high hopes of quickly overcoming jet lag, we vowed not to fall asleep during the flight.
As the plane wound its way westward, we were served snacks with cocktails, then dinner with wine, then more snacks with drinks and, finally, breakfast with coffee. We watched movie after movie…..The King’s Speech, Black Swan, True Grit, Hereafter…..all the movies we’ve missed this year. We stretched our legs…..we walked through the plane…..and then we stretched and walked again…..and again. We were successful…..our heavy eyes didn’t close and we were awake throughout the long flight.
We arrived in San Francisco about 5:30 pm, gathered our luggage, passed through Customs, walked over to BART, took the train to Pleasanton and arrived at the hotel by 8:30 pm.
It was a long day……after staying awake for 23 hours, we were hoping for a little nightcap before bed. We walked to BevMo but arrived just as they were closing. The disappointment in our faces must have been apparent. The doors were opened, a little evening sustenance was purchased and we were soon back at the hotel toasting to the completion of a successful journey.