Thanks to the loving generosity of friends, I was able to go with Brian to England for his dissertation defense. This was my first time to get to go and it was wonderful just being the two of us. We plan to take the whole family in June for his graduation and I feel so much better prepared having already been.
Brian’s parents came up to stay with Daniel and Sarah while we were gone which was such a blessing. We knew they were in great hands and so many friends were ready to help if needed. I don’t think we were missed too much! 🙂
This trip turned out to be an adventure before we ever left Lexington. Our flight was delayed about 15 minutes because one of the crew had not arrived, then it was delayed again because of a mechanical issue. The second delay gave us only 30 minutes to catch our connection in Detroit for Amsterdam which was making us a bit nervous. The third delay to switch aircraft had us arriving at the time our connection was leaving….obviously, that wasn’t going to work. There was a flight to Atlanta leaving in time for a connection straight to Manchester, but it was overbooked. Not a chance getting on that flight. So they gave us a taxi voucher and booked us on a flight out of Cincinnati then on a direct flight to Manchester. We collected our luggage back at the ticket counter, grabbed a taxi and set off on the 1 1/2 hour drive to Cincy. (Glad the airline paid that bill…over $200!).
We had no problems in Cincinnati, we were even pre-checked for security. Even got to leave our shoes on! 🙂 The plane was boarded and ready to leave the gate when the pilot announced one of the doors was giving an error saying it was still open & they had to call maintenance. Thankfully, that was fixed quickly and we taxied out to the runway. Oh, but wait for it… they grounded traffic departing for Atlanta due to weather down there. I had visions of spending hours sitting on the plane and was so thankful those thoughts did not turn into reality! After about 15 minutes we were given the all clear and off we went.
We arrived in Atlanta with just enough time to make it to the international terminal and try to get our seats reassigned. When the Delta lady re-booked us, she wasn’t able to select our seats because our new flight was on Virgin Atlantic (which I can now highly recommend!). After a little bit of technical difficulty, we got our seats reassigned together, made it to the restroom, and boarded on time. It was so nice to finally feel like we were almost there (even though we still had an 8 hour flight ahead of us.) And I can also say that airplane food is really just as bad as everyone says…but I did survive.
Brian usually zips through customs on his trips over. However, with at least 2 overseas flights coming in at the same time and only one poor guy working the non-European passport line…yep, it took as at least an hour. I thought a poor girl in front of us was going to fall asleep standing up. I’m pretty sure she was trying…
We made it through customs, took the shuttle to the rental car place (sorry, car hire place – must speak British now). After an almost terrifying 1 1/2 hour drive from the airport, we made it to Chesterfield. (The terrifying part was mainly me adjusting to being on the wrong side of some very narrow roads and insanely crazy roundabouts in city traffic with written directions that looked nothing like what we actually did on little to no sleep. It really had nothing to do with Brian’s driving skills, although I’m sure I didn’t help him feel any more confident.)
We got settled into the home we were staying in for the duration of the trip (Thank you, Graham! It was lovely!), ate lunch & bought groceries at the store across the road, and then came home and CRASHED for a few hours. After enjoying what I realized was my first real meal in over 24 hours (thanks to the nasty airplane food) of Chinese take-away (take-out) with Brian’s mentor (Phil) & his family, we were pretty much dead on our feet and were ready to call it a night. Pretty sure I never moved till morning! Friday we woke up to a beautiful sunny & warm day ready to see some of the local sights.
More of our trip and lots of pictures to come…
Living thru faith,