They say you can’t go home again, and they were nearly right!
The humans got a bit of a late start the morning we left, which meant there absolutely wasn’t time for “one last look” at anything except the Tube. And since one can get to Heathrow directly from the Tube, we didn’t even need any of these, and won’t for a good long time. (The humans are already planning a future visit.)
Ehehehe! It makes me laugh just to remember. Despite the human female “being good” and not buying every book or stuffed animal she wanted, her suitcase was still heavier than when we flew in. If some kind young man hadn’t helped her lug it down the stairs to the Picadilly line in the Tube station, it probably would have gained momentum and crushed her as she humped it down step by ludicrous step.
We found an unusual sculpture in the airport terminal.
It seems familiar, but I can’t think why.
The humans couldn’t check-in online for their cut-rate, web-purchased tickets, so all the tickety business had to be done at the airport, which is always a little dicey. The automated kiosk in the rotunda puked and told them to see the agent at the counter. The agent told them to try the handy automated kiosk. Someone else at the counter punched a few buttons and sent all of us on our way.
Ah. Airport security. It moves very slowly, and I think there is a regulation that requires a screaming baby in every line, as well as multiple trips through the scanners, with progressive pocket-emptying and sequential disrobing between trips. The human male got a full pat-down. Guess I’m not the only one who thinks he looks shifty.
I had a little chat with the control tower, assuring that we left about 45 minutes behind schedule. Which was all right, because it took the humans some time and some finagling to swap around until they had seats next to one another, having been seated in different rows so that no fellow passenger had to look at them both for nine and a half hours.
The pilot, drat him, managed to make up some time, so we arrived in the Big City to the South more-or-less on time. A word to the ground crew from me was enough to land the plane at a gate without a jetway that would fit our plane, so we all got to sit on the tarmac for half an hour or so, enjoying that delicious, end-of-transatlantic-flight cabin air for just a little longer.
We finally were allowed to disembark. Then it was time for the sadistic ritual known as Customs and Immigration. It is customary to make passengers on international flights fill out little declaration cards while still en route, to speed things along. Like many mortal customs, it’s antiquated and worthless. I teleported Sigyn and myself ahead to wait comfortably in a cafe while the humans’ vacation euphoria melted in the heat, humidity, and officiousness. (Welcome back to Texas!) It pleased me immensely to see the weary humans shuffle from the first line to the second line and then to the third line, giving the same information over and over, just to prove they weren’t smuggling in rabid British dormice stuffed with uncut heroin and over-the-limit alcohol and cigarettes. It amused me even moreso to note that by the end of the process, no one had actually asked for their declaration cards.
After a bit of confusion, our Uber driver found us in all our sleepy and travel-gritty glory, at the curb. The next hour was a good reminder to the mortals that they’d better not leave Sigyn and me in gardens or make me tour too many churches, because once I’m back on more familiar soil, the gloves come off. It became glaringly apparent that when sixteen inches of rain falls all at once on the Big City to the South, water does tend to collect in low spots a bit. It goes without saying that the Big City to the South is one BIG low spot. The driver got us to the very street we needed to turn on to reach the Knittery Friend’s house, where the humans’ car was lodged, only to find the flashing lights, barricades, and bored cops that signal “road closed indefinitely due to flooding.”
Very well, there must be a way to approach the house from another direction, mustn’t there? The Uber driver was willing to explore, if we’d just give him the street address. Ehehehe! That’s when I got to listen to a fine round or six of “I thought you wrote it down?” “No, I don’t remember doing that. Don’t you have it?”, during which the female got quieter and quieter and the male more and more annoyed. For future reference, guys: Knowing how to get to a place is not the same as knowing the location of the place. (How many times have you visited and you still don’t know the house number?!)
We did finally manage to arrive (thank you, kind and fearless Uber driver!) The humans negotiated the alarm on the garage door (having been texted the correct code during the trip, more’s the pity–remember that they’d been given the wrong one?), retrieved the car keys, left the thank-you gift, and started the two-ish hour drive home.
Ah, home. That fond place, warm, stale, and covered in cat fur and junk mail. We’d all been up about twenty-four hours, objective time, by this point, so after cleaning up one or two feline messes, ascertaining that all four walls and roof were still attached to one another in approximately the correct configuration, and making a half-hearted swipe with face-cloth and toothbrush, they tumbled into bed. Sigyn and I retired also, visions of golden coin-hoards and Bakewell tarts dancing in our heads.
Alas! Here endeth the vacation. Still to come? Discovering all the little wheels that came off the bus while they were gone!