DAY 1 - FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST
The morning at work
goes pretty quickly with only a few minor crises to deal with.
Just after 1.00pm we return home to shower and do the last bit of packing.
Before we set off on holiday we have one of lifes less pleasant tasks to attend to. My uncle died recently and we are going to his funeral. Although he was 86, its still a sad day for my mum as hes the last of her 3 brothers. He was a really interesting man to talk to, as his reminiscences of a by-gone age were fascinating. He used to tell me of working on the farm all day before going to the local pub where the men would joke with each other over who had ploughed the most crooked furrow.
I guess that sense of community is a long gone thing in most places. This is not the most auspicious start to a holiday, but Im glad we were around to say farewell to Frank.
Our good friend Matt is picking us up at 4.30pm to take us to Heathrow to stay in a hotel overnight. We make repeated attempts to use Virgin on-line check-in, but the web site keeps telling us we cant. Damn rude if you ask me. Just as Matt is about to arrive I try for one last time. Success! Perhaps the web site is a bit temperamental. Maybe its female and has PMT. Who knows?
Matt drives us to Heathrow where we are staying in the Marriott for the night. Despite the exterior he might wish to portray, Matt has a heart of gold. We say farewell to him and look forward to seeing him and Deb in WDW in 2 weeks time.
The Marriott is a very nice hotel. Primarily aimed at the business market, it costs about £160 to stay there during the week, but we only had to pay £60 to stay on a Friday night, an absolute bargain. I would put it on a par with the Sofitel in Gatwick.
Checked in and bags dropped off in the room, we venture forth to the bar for a drinkie. £3.40 for a pint of Boddingtons is pretty good by hotel standards. Im starting to relax into holiday mode.
Id read on the internet that there is as Italian restaurant just up the road, so we walk up to take a look. We are not impressed (as Queen Victoria might have said). It looks a bit like a greasy spoon café. Not the sort of place to get the holiday off to a great start.
Back to the Marriott where we decide to eat at the American Grille. There is a special offer of a 3-course meal and 2 glasses of wine for £23. The menu is somewhat limited for this deal, but the 2 glasses of wine swing it. Were in thank you garcon. There is a 30 minute wait so we adjourn to the bar.
At this point Georgia says that she is so hungry she could eat a fish! When asked what sort of fish, she replies A big one. I suppose there is a warped sort of logic in there somewhere.
Into the restaurant and we enjoy a meal that is actually slightly better than I was anticipating. Nachos, chicken strips (very good), burgers, pasta and Portobello sandwiches are enjoyed. Dessert is apple and walnut tart along with lemon sorbet. Tam pronounces that the apple and walnut tart tastes like Port Orleans Riverside. Lord knows how a dessert can taste like a resort, but we nod earnestly in agreement for fear of offending the mad woman and ending up with a knife in the back.
It is at this point in the proceedings that the conversation turns to a possible performance of The Old Grey Mare by my good self. For those of you not intimately acquainted with The Simpsons, this refers to an episode where Krusty the Clown is down on his luck and offers to drop his trousers for $1 and shuffle around while singing The Old Grey Mare.
Now I dont like to blow my own trumpet, but I have to say that my own rendition of said classic is a thing of beauty to behold.
I offer to perform for the ladies later. This is not met with overwhelming enthusiasm. The full length window in our room overlooks the atrium and the bar, so I ponder whether a complete (and naked) performance of The Old Grey Mare in front of the window might not illicit the sort of critical acclaim my artistic talent has been crying out for. The look on the faces of the women persuades me otherwise. The world must wait further for this wondrous sight.
It is now 9.45pm and Tam is yawning. The ladies retire to the boudoir, so I head for the bar.
A couple of Coronas and an hour or so are spent writing up the trip report.
God, I love this part of the holiday. All the experiences to come lie before us. There will be new places to visit alongside things we know we are going to enjoy as we have done them many times in the past. One things for sure, we aint holding back on this holiday, its going to be all action.
Are you sure I cant interest you in a few bars of The Old Grey Mare?
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