Friday, 31 May 2013

double decker touches down in London

It's a long way from home - which we left over 30 hours ago but we have arrived safely in London. We had no problems checking in and the flight from Perth to Singapore was uneventful, even if we did have quite a lot of turbulence and the seat belt sign was on for the whole flight.
In Singapore, we had a 6 hours transit wait so we availed ourselves of the Changi Transfer vouchers. (Is it just us, or were they deliberately slow at issuing these vouchers so that people gave up waiting and therefore fewer were issued?) We waited in the queue for an hour to get our vouchers (each got $S40) and then headed straight for the transit lounge. We could have up to 5 hours in the lounge and enjoy quiet time in comfy chairs and unlimited breakfast, hot and cold drinks for around $S35 each, and take a hot shower for around $S8.50 each - the guy behind the desk said that our vouchers covered it so we gratefully headed for those comfy chairs. The showers were great and we felt quite refreshed. We 'chilled out' there for the remainder of our transit time and then boarded the double decker A380 and onto London. There was a bit more turbulence about 2 hours out of Singapore but nothing extreme and after the long, long flight we actually managed to arrive early into Heathrow.
The queues at 'UK Border' (what happened to "Immigration"?) were much shorter than I expected, there was no delay for baggage claim and no customs people visible so we were soon out into the welcoming crowd - not all for us I admit. Thank you John for coming to meet us, we must be getting older because the thought of catching a bus, or even worse, driving a rental car is horrific. All we want to do is get out of the plane and sleep. Wendy's brother John and his wife Pauline are looking after us for the first few days and then we'll keep returning to them as our 'base' throughout the next weeks.
Reading is only a relatively short drive from Heathrow along the M4  (we were really cheered to see a bright pink and purple 2CV on the motorway) and in that short distance we decide that a portion of good old fashioned English chips would go down well, so we buy those on the way home. A good feed, a cuppa tea and then a welcome, really comfortable bed.....bliss.
Day one in UK and we were up with the lark - at 8.30. A nice slow start to the day with us going down to meet Pauline from work at 12.30 and then getting some supplies at Aldi and Waitrose. Have to do a true price comparison sometime, we think Aus is cheaper but lots of people deny this so we're going to check it out for ourselves (I've brought some Aussie supermarket receipts with me so that I won't have to rely on memory!) We had a quick 10 minute stroll around the block in the evening, don't want to overdo it.
Day two and time to start being a tourist - so after breakfast John drove us to Newbury (Pauline works Mon - Fri, mornings). The reason for Newbury was that we'd spotted a car, online,  that looked like a very good deal at only 150pounds. We found the car and when Michael approached the seller he said, "Are you Marcus?" Michael said "No, and don't try and tell me that Marcus is on his way to buy the car" Well, it turned out that Marcus did exist, he'd phoned four times about the car and did in fact arrive shortly after us. We didn't buy the car.
We went into Newbury for lunch. What a lovely town.

 It still shows that it was a important place in the 15th century, a thriving wool town in a beautiful setting, on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

We should come here more often, very nice.
We walked around for ages - the last 30 minutes was because we couldn't find the car park!!
Eventually three very tired folks found the place and John spoilt us by taking the scenic route home through some gorgeous villages.
Definitely time for a 'quiet night in'. Tomorrow we play tourists again, we're all going to Windsor.

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