Hypergraffiti

Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Live from the Internet Salon in Bexley, England…

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It’s Trudy & Family’s Excellent Adventure!

Yes, I was hoping to find an internet cafe but instead Bexley boasts an internet hair salon — I have no idea why. The main point is that here I am telling you all about our trip so far.

The overnight flight on Saturday night was fine; everyone got some sleep, though not at the same time. Emma did the best job of tucking in and settling down. At about 3 a.m. Christopher was still assembling his Lego toys on the tray table and talking in a very animated voice to Jason about what he was doing, but he eventually settled down and got some sleep.

I love travel, but I’m not a huge fan of flying on airplanes as such. There are just a few little things that bother me. First, there’s the fact that you’re in a metal tube five miles above the ground with nothing but the ocean and a horrible death below. Second — well, there is no second. In the light of “first,” it seems petty to complain about the lack of leg room, the dehydrating recycled air, or airplane food. Actually I quite like airplane food, although it’s hard to come by these days; we got a lovely breakfast before landing at 8:30 English time (still only about 5:00 a.m. our time!)

Our plan for the first day was to arrive at Heathrow in the morning, take a double-decker bus tour of London (which Jason and I remembered from our earlier visit as a quiet, undemanding way to spend the first few jet-lagged hours in England), then go on in the afternoon to our B&B in Bexley, a suburb of London.

We had failed to take into account how even the most quiet and undemanding tourist activities become more exhausting with (and for) small children, and how the inevitable hopping on and off subways which is an essential part of London travel can be wearing to the very young, or to those carrying many backpacks. The kids did enjoy the bus tour and the boat ride on the Thames which was included in the price (except when they were dozing off), but by the time we got well into the process of finding our way to Bexley it was later than we’d expected and we were all very tired.

Small disasters — such as a train being taken out of service one stop from our destination, or a bag containing a milk bottle leaking milk all over our own luggage and that of some well-dressed bystanders on the Underground — suddenly seemed like obstacles too great to surmount. But I have to give the kids 100% credit for being the world’s greatest little travellers: they didn’t whine or complain throughout the whole thing, and when we finally got on our last train, the one that would take us to Bexley, Emma settled back into her seat, sighed happily, and said, “Now THIS is what I call a vacation!!”

A couple of hours later we were settled in our cozy, clean and attrative B&B room. Showered and wearing clean clothes, we headed out to secure some supper for Jason and me (the kids had eaten take-out while we were on the subway; that’s where the leaky bag of milk came from). One of my fantasies for the trip was to eat Indian take-out, since my vast knowledge of British culture (i.e. Coronation Street and Ship of Fools) suggests that English people are always popping out for “a curry.” Sure enough, cheap and good Indian food was easy to obtain and soon Jason and I were sitting on a bench in a warm English twilight, eating chicken korma and watching the kids play in a lovely playground just a block from our B&B. At which point I sighed, stretched, and said, “Now, this is what I call a vacation!!”

We’re off to Legoland today … more later!

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