Well, here we are, waking up in Cirencester, the heart of the Cotswolds in the south west of England, my home country. It’s so far in time and space—not to mention culture—from Southern California as to be thoroughly disorienting… Strangely, it does still feel like home to me, though I’m not sure I could ever live here again. Spoiled, perhaps, by the almost constant sunshine and temperate climate back in Los Angeles and Laguna Beach.
The journey was long, but relatively easy—until we reached Heathrow. We had used our credit card mileage to upgrade to business class for the flight, and were given nice pink “fast-track” cards to speed us through immigration. Turned out, when we reached the immigration hall, that the “fast “track” had one single, slow, impossibly officious man to cater to every first class and business passenger, as well as non-working United Airlines crew members, “deadheading” on this flight to be available to work on the return flight. At three to four minutes a person and with twenty people ahead of us, we watched the economy passengers speed through their slow track line while we stood there and waited.
Our complaints to the supervisors on the floor brought expressions of concern and visits to “the man upstairs”—who was presumably not “The Man Upstairs” or we could have expected a more sympathetic response. I suspect his was one of those Dickensian British bureaucrats who nurse a deep hatred for those they judge to be more fortunate than themselves and who, in this case, chose to take it out on the privileged business class passengers. He simply refused, according to our informants, to send in reinforcements.
I was frankly furious. I was actually quite nice to those who were trying, vainly, to help, but boiling inside as I watched the economy class line sweep by. Having paid for my “rights,” I now felt violated and abused to have them seized from me by some idiot upstairs who couldn’t be bothered to do the job he was paid to do. A good opportunity, then, to do some learning about myself—as Ellie was kind enough to keep reminding me, to my increasing fury…
We did eventually get out of immigration hell, found our bags awaiting us, and plodded our way through HM (Her Majesty’’s) Customs to where my sister was waiting patiently in the receiving line. (In fact, she wasn’t even in the receiving line, she had found a nice place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while she waited.) A joy to see her, though, and we squeezed ourselves and our baggage into her little car for the drive back along the M4 to Cirencester.
A lovely drive. Green hills and fields and woods on either side, with banks of pale yellow primroses and deep yellow splashes of daffodils growing wild. We arrived at our destination late morning, having missed a night of sleep (it was still only 8PM Los Angeles time) and took a walk through this pleasant country town for a cup of coffee at the local center for arts and crafts.
More later, and pictures, I hope. This is getting long… We’re here. We had a good night’s sleep. There’s a good day ahead of us.