Back across the Pond…..Day 12

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Unhappy in Heathrow, and home….

I have posted before on the problems of having a wife who has a serious addiction problem. Well, it’s not serious but she has had this need for many years. So when she spotted the availability in Boston Logan Airport, she had to have it, whatever the cost. I refer, of course, to cinnamon-flavoured maple syrup, and it was purchased in the area after security and was put in a labelled bag, so joy was in the air as we boarded for our overnight flight to Heathrow. We slept reasonably well but were still mentally in the middle of the night when we put our watches five hours forward on arrival.

Arriving at any airport in the best frame of mind is not a bundle of fun, but after a numbers of hours in a totally-alien environment, and suddenly being herded like cattle is not a great welcome. To cut a long story short, the aforementioned purchase was scanned through the x-ray, removed from the bag in which it was packed by the shop, and Lady was told that since it had not been packed ‘properly’ that it could not be allowed into the country, and it would be confiscated and destroyed!

Quite unbelievable! It could only have been bought in the shop, and we had the receipt, US security was happy, but for some reason, a cantankerous (lady) officer had decided to have a go at a couple of tired old people. In retrospect we should have asked for a receipt, but you do not think clearly at 6am….after a few hours of sleep. Then they went through our hand- luggage with a fine tooth comb, with the result that most of my stuff ended on the floor and my passport was temporarily mislaid.

So we got to our next departure pier for our journey to Glasgow. The four legs of our total holiday had been  booked through British Airways, so that we could enjoy the good service and leg-room. However this leg was handled by some company called Jet-Time in a rather tatty plane with a not very-exciting snack, and cockpit staff speaking in a thick foreign accent which I could not understand. So I was not a happy bunny. I made my feelings clear in the after-flight e-mail request we received from a marketing company, on behalf of BA)but no response from the airline has been received to date.

The Hudson News shop at Logan Airport accepted our story and graciously have sent us US currency to the value of the syrup…so we will now have to go back to there to get some more syrup! As to the payment for the non-booked first night in Canada, we are still awaiting resolution with the Travel Agent which we have used over many years. All a bit of a disappointing end to what had otherwise been a great adventure.

Would we go back to that part of Canada again….definitely…lovely scenery, lovely people. Would we go through Heathrow……definitely NO……especially now that a third runway is to be built!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Over the Pond and far away…Day 11

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Boston, and coming home….

And so we had come to the last day of our holiday before returning home, but we were not sitting-back. We wanted to savour every last moment. So down to breakfast early for cereal, juice, coffee and you’ve guessed it….waffles and strawberries and cream.  I can’t say I would want the latter at the table EVERY morning, but it WAS nice for a short time!

I knew that the hotel was quite close to the Charles River, but I didn’t realise how close. The interesting thing when you ask anyone local, how far some destination is, the reply is always measured in ‘blocks’, and not in metres or yards or parts of a mile…which is probably more sensible when you think of it!

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Only a few blocks north took us through tree-lined streets to the beautiful Embankment to let us see a load of lovely buildings on the other side of the river…..

….and wild life and friendly malamute dogs….

Our last chance to record images was when we went to have lunch in one of the leafy and delightful streets nearby… we managed to bypass the Sugar Heaven and moved-on to……Sonsie

For those who might find this of interest, we ate in the Sonsie Bistro in Newbury Street. (for your useless interest, Sonsie is a Scottish word which means ‘lovely’ in Scotland). The shared pizza and salad, with a rather strange but perfectly-pleasant beer sufficed, and so we went back to the hotel for luggage, and had an uneventful trip to Logan Airport.

The British Airways 747-400 monstrously-large plane was to be our carriage taking us to London. A perfectly-pleasant meal, a blanket, dimmed lights, and Fawlty Towers saw us lulled into sleep, and when we were gently wakened, on the approach to Heathrow, we had to move our watches on by 5 hours…..but I can’t say that my brain had completely moved forward  five hours.

And so we were welcomed to Happy Heathrow (not)……

 

Over the pond, and far away…..Day 1

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Glasgow to Montreal ……….

Some five years ago, Lady and I, on retirement, traversed the north Atlantic, and the North American Continent to see Calgary, Banff, Jasper, the Rocky Mountaineer, Kamloops, yet more Rocky Mountaineer, and finally the fair city of Vancouver, before embarking on  a cruise into Alaska.

It was a momentous journey for me, as I am not a great lover of sitting in a metal tube for many hours at a stretch, either in the air, or on a rail line. Much as I loved it in retrospect, I was pleased that we had returned unscathed, and vowed that ‘That is That!’.

Lady is not so easily put-off, and expressed a gentle (but insistent) wish that ‘Boston in the Fall’ might be worth a view. As any man knows, this indicates that cerebral plans are already well-established, if not completed, in the Lady’s mind and that further discussion is meaningless……IT WILL HAPPEN….

This was all in August 2015, and when our Travel Agent was approached, I knew that all struggling was futile. Dates, times, hotels, cruise itinerary, were all established, as I saw a dwindling bank balance being replaced by increasing paperwork in a folder. Weather forecasts all along the way were viewed anxiously, so that it could be established what clothes I would require, to have washed, ironed, unworn, and sitting beside an open suitcase some weeks before departure. I had no inverse opinion requested about Lady’s clothes!

And thus it was that just a couple of weeks ago, accompanied by the massive amount of paperwork demanded by the so-called ‘paperless society’, we set-off for our flight from Glasgow to London. Weather and flight were pleasant and great views of London convinced us that we were lucky to live to the north of Glasgow with a view of the lovely Campsie Fells……all was looking good…..

Our Heathrow transfer was painless and our 7 hour BA flight to Montreal uneventful…… even some sleep was possible after a pleasant meal. As a bonus, the Canadian Customs Officers at Montreal were courteous, and the airport coach took us to a couple of hundred yards from our hotel. So we set off happily walking and chatting in the late evening …….but everything had been going too swimmingly….!

There is something about a foreign city at night…….it doesn’t look at all like it does in Google Street! We had just missed a turning, but, hey, there were a few police standing together, and we could ask them. It turned out that they were there because of the presence of the Chinese president! We chatted briefly and then asked for confirmation of where our hotel was ….well you know what they say…..policemen know everything. We set off again on our way happy that we would be soon tucked up in bed…..

The receptionist was mystified, and justifiably so, as she had no record of us. Showing her the booking confirmed that the police were wrong. It was NOT our hotel, although is sounded similar (probably my Irish/Scottish French!).

OK, so we now had the correct directions to our correct hotel and we DID arrive, checked the name over the door, and met ANOTHER mystified Receptionist…..’Sorry, Mr Monroe, no record of you’…..’Can you give us a bed and we can sort it in the morning?’……..’Of course, De Luxe OK?’…..’Anything!!’…..’Sleep well’……..

Three am saw me on my phone to our Travel Agent (the 5 hour time change permitted that) who reassured me that they would be working on this for me, and slumber eventually overcame tiredness from a very long day, annoyance, anxiety, and the question….. what can happen next?

For that you will just have to wait……