Alan & Kathy's Trip To Africa
September / October 1997
Part 2 of 6 - England

Week 1
Tuesday 16 September 1997

The first major event of our vacation occurred the morning we left home. The police phoned at 4:55 AM to say they had "recovered" Alan's car, so would he please report it stolen to keep their paperwork straight! It had been stolen right outside our front door, while we worked through the night getting everything ready to pack.

Alan spent the rest of the morning with the police and at the towing yard, inspecting his car and trying to recover his prescription sunglasses and battery shaver for the trip (they were gone).

While Alan was dealing with the theft, Kathy had to do all the packing. We reached the airport in time for our flight, but too late to get the window seat Kathy wanted. In Calgary we had dinner and started a 45-day course of doxycycline to protect us from malaria. Then we changed planes and flew overnight to London, England.

Wednesday 17 September 1997

970917a.jpg Our friend Cefaye Dumbleton and her friend Ann had taken the day off to meet us at Heathrow, and took us to the Dumbleton residence where, after a fine lunch, we both succumbed to jet lag and napped until dinner time. That evening we caught up on Dumbleton family news with Cefaye and her husband Bernie and son Tim. We have known the Dumbletons since the 1970's, and Cefaye's family even longer. Cefaye's sister Jane, now a hospital chaplain, was also there, an unexpected treat as we hadn't seen her in person since her previous career in the police force!

Thursday 18 September 1997

After a good night's sleep, breakfast, and trading more family news, Cefaye took us to a shopping centre where we had lunch with Alan's cousin Andy Curtis. Cefaye bought Kathy a book about the late Princess Diana. Then Andy took us home to meet his wife Kathy and daughter Clare, who had taken time off work and school to be with us. While their Kathy made a wonderful chicken dinner, our Kathy had another jet-lag catch-up nap.

970918a.jpg After dinner we visited Andy's brother David, and his wife Francoise. Andy's brother-in-law Kerry Lewis (married to Andy's sister Jennifer) was also visiting. David, a creative artist, builds miniature papier mache cities, complete with lights and people. He also designs and decorates beautiful cakes, which Francoise bakes and helps decorate. David told us a lot about the history of Alan's family. It was quite late when Andy and Kathy took us back to their place!

Friday 19 September 1997

970919a.jpg Andy and Kathy took us for a drive through the countryside to an interesting little winery and micro-brewery, where we saw the brewing equipment and sampled the wine. On the way back we had lunch at a Tudor-style pub.

Later, Andy and Kathy took us to Gatwick airport. They wisely left early, so despite getting into an awful traffic jam, we reached Gatwick with time to spare. This was just as well, as we had gone to the south "passenger" terminal, where a notice in the lobby explained that our flight left from the north "cargo" terminal. The notice helpfully said there was a free train to the north terminal, but forgot to say where. Eventually we found the train and checked in for our flight. After dinner at Garfunkels, we boarded our plane just as they were closing the gate.

This was Alan's third BA flight in the past year, and he believes BA stands for Broken Audio. 100% of their headsets have had problems, either in the headset itself or in the socket on the armrest. Otherwise, British Airways' service is very good, with excellent food, even Kathy's diabetic meal. Alan watched their first movie, Murder at 1600, then (having read the MovieGuide review) slept through Liar Liar. Kathy, not having seen the review, watched both movies, but afterwards wished she'd slept through Liar Liar - if Alan's snoring had allowed that!

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