Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Catch-Up Part II: Post NY, Pre-Christmas

Take a deeeeep breath after that mammoth NY post and let us continue our journey back in the midsts of time....

My flight home from NYC was uneventful; attempted to watch Made in Dagenham but drifted in and out of consciousness and the film wasn't interesting enough to stop me. Landed at about 9.30am Tuesday morning and I was home by 11.30am - the joys of the M4 at non-rush hour.

We had arranged with Grandma and Grandad that I would collect the small boy from the service station on the M6 Toll Road (fear not, they would be there too, he wasn't being couriered and left to fend for himself) on Wednesday lunchtime, but it turned out Grandad was busy that day and they asked would I mind if they kept the little darling for an extra day. Would I mind?! Another whole day to myself to recover from jetlag, unpack, do the washing, do some work, and generally potter? No, I didn't mind at all. That's not to say I didn't feel a little bit guilty, especially when I found out that the little chap had been suffering from tonsilitis (albeit much, much recovered by this stage.) Typically he managed to fall ill while we were away (do you remember our last visit to NYC, when small boy accompanied us and we ended up in ER?), but G&G chose not to tell us as they didn't want us to worry and the miracle that is the antibiotic had him returned to his normal boisterous self within about 24 hours.

So, Tuesday & Wednesday were spent as detailed above, working, washing, sleeping, unpacking. Then Thursday I drove up to the lovely Norton Canes service station and was greeted by a small boy with an enormous smile on his face - clearly he was pleased to see me and I was more than chuffed to see him. We then spent the next 45mins running round the service station in high excitement.

Clearly, all the running round led to exhaustion when we got home.

The following day, Friday 17th, we had two Christmas events to attend - the Rhymetime Christmas sing-a-long at the Hexagon - look at that face! Clearly not impressed.and nursery's Christmas party in the afternoon. Cocktail sausage anyone?

I was getting very excited by this point as hubby was due to fly home from San Francisco overnight and was expected home about 11.30am on the Saturday. Unfortunately the weather has other plans for hubby and his flights. Firstly, he got to San Fran airport on Friday afternoon (US time) to find the airport mired in fog and his flight to LA cancelled. As a result there was no chance of him getting his LA-London flight later than afternoon/evening and, therefore, no chance of him getting home on Saturday morning :( With it being the run-up to Christmas lots of other flights were full so the best the airline could offer him was a flight to Houston the following day, with an onward connection to London. So hubby trundled back to his hotel and small boy and I settled in for another night and day without daddy.

Saturday 18th dawned and small boy and I got up at about 8am with plans to drive over to Henley or perhaps walk into Reading and have a look round the shops for any last-minute Christmas items we may have missed from the extensive list. But just as the weather had other plans for hubby and his flights, so it also had other plans for us. When I looked out of the kitchen window, this is what I saw

and our front path looked like this:

Eeek! Snow. Dastardly white stuff. Switching on the TV, the BBC news channel confirmed my worst fears - the entire country had ground to a halt, airports were closed, people were panic-buying, roads were gridlocked, children were happily building snowmen. There was probably close to 2 or 3 inches of the stuff in Reading, but it had stopped falling and the gritting lorries came out very promptly and cleared the roads, so actually very little of the town ground to a halt. That wasn't to be the case elsewhere though. I logged on to the Heathrow website to see that the airport was closed and thus nothing was taking off or landing. They kept promising it would open within 6 hours, but then that changed to 'Sunday' and I had a sinking feeling about hubby's chances of getting home.

To cut this long story a little shorter, this is a summary of what poor hubby ended up doing in his quest to get home:

Saturday 18th: flew from San Fran to Houston. Discovered onward flight from Houston-London Heathrow cancelled. Booked on same flight following day, spent night in Houston airport hotel.

Sunday 19th: headed early to Houston airport to find out situation. Flight to Heathrow cancelled again. I was frantically tapping away on the internet trying to find a flight from anywhere in the USA to anywhere in the UK that had an airport that was open (ie anywhere but Heathrow!) We came up with these options: fly to New York and try to get onward flight to somewhere in UK - possibly Manchester; or, fly to Orlando and get flight from there to Gatwick. Hubby went with second option and managed to secure one of the last seats on a flight from Houston to Orlando (in first class!) for that afternoon and then an onward overnight flight from Orlando to Gatwick. The only problem was he had just 30mins between his internal flight landing and the Gatwick one departing. Cutting it fine was an understatement. And then the flight to Orlando got delayed due to some issue with the air con on the plane. And the minutes ticked by and we thought all was lost for him getting the onward flight until I logged on to see that the onward flight was also delayed - praise be! In the end hubby got to Orlando with many hours to spare as his flight ended up being delayed til about 5am the following day (Monday) when it should have left at about 7pm on the Sunday evening. Poor hubby was absolutely shattered when he finally got on the plane but was chuffed to find he was sharing it with just 40 other people, including the crew! Plenty of room to stretch out and sleep. And so, finally about 90 hours after he first started trying to get home, hubby landed at Gatwick airport about 6.30pm on Monday evening just before the snow shut the airport for the night, and he got home at about 9pm. I was VERY pleased to see him, as was his little boy when he woke up the next morning.

And take another deeeep breath!


  1. Sounds like a remake of Planes, Trains & Automobiles! Glad he finally got home. x




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