Emma and I were long overdue for a trip to England, where my sister had relocated after several years in Italy. We wanted to see her and her partner, and also my increasingly adorable nephew. Emma also has many relations in Wales (collectively known as the Welsh Relatives, or WRs for short) that we wanted to visit. But it was an invitation to a wedding that finally forced us to set a date.
November isn't really the best time to visit the UK, but then you don't usually go there for the weather.
Our one and only ordeal on the trip came right at the very beginning. There was a medical emergency and they came on the PA looking for a doctor while we were still over Canada, but they waited until we were 2 hours over the Atlantic before turning back. We sat on the tarmac for them to take whoever it was to an ambulance and then refuel the plane. That was another 2 hours. So we got to London about 6 hours late, for a total of 13 hours on the plane. Awful. The image above is taken from a flight-tracking website that shows the actual plot of our flight as it disappeared out over the Atlantic and then returned to Goose Bay, Newfoundland.
By the time we got to the hotel outside of Cheltenham, all we really wanted to do was find dinner and go to sleep. So we begin with our first morning in England: stereotypical British weather.
Our rental car, a Peugeot, was selected on the basis of being the smallest car we could rent that came in an automatic. I'm all for driving a standard transmission (both Emma and I own manual cars), but it was too much to ask for me to get off that flight and onto the British roads, driving on the wrong side of the road for the first time in my life, with a clutch thrown into the mix. The Peugeot was in fact fairly stylish, good to drive and entirely practical for our trip. Unlike the piece of crap we last rented, the Dodge Caliber in Hawaii.
We drove into Cheltenham on the day of the wedding to find some British cash and also some brunch, which came in the form of a fairly traditional breakfast.
Too bad we took twice as long to get our food than we could really afford, because we found ourselves shortly after literally running late for the wedding.
As you can see, the service was in a satisfyingly old-timey church, although it was at the expense of it not being heated. Brr.