We got away to the airport with plenty of time to spare. My mum dropped us off and we breezed through check in, immigration, customs etc. When we opened our HSBC account we received two Qantas business class lounge passes. That was a nice treat! We had some lunch and enjoyed the quiet. Just on boarding time we went back upstairs and had barely 5 minutes to wait.
The first leg of the flight from Australia to the UK is to Singapore and takes just a little more than 7 hours. The second leg takes more than 13 hours, and in our case it was 14! Oh, how painful that journey is. I absolutely hate it and so does Mick. By the time we arrived in London it was 24 hours since we got on the plane in Melbourne.
We had booked a hotel day room so we could have a shower and a nap before driving to Leamington Spa. The first thing I did when we arrived there was to turn on my phone..... well I tried to. It's dead! It won't charge and won't turn on. I'm stuck without access to my emails and contacts etc. We bought a cheap little phone so we can make and receive calls but that's all it will do. When I have time I'll investigate what's available in the way of phones.
We encountered our second little hiccup when we went to pick up the hire car. They weren't going to let us take a car because we didn't have a return airline ticket! I couldn't believe it. The girl who served us was lovely but she had to get her supervisor because we didn't satisfy "the rules". The supervisor had a bit of an attitude and despite my numerous suggestions for what might overcome the problem she was all set to turn us away. Eventually she very grudgingly agreed that if I could produce a purchase document for nb Parisien Star as well as insurance documents that showed the same address, they would let us take a car.
We hightailed it up to Leamington and went to Tesco for some groceries and a quick visit down to the canal to see if there were any boats. We watched 3 go by.
Now we are staying a couple of days with our friend Lois, with whom we exchanged houses for 5 weeks in 2007.
We had a couple of encounters today where we told someone that we had arrived here today to spend a year aboard a narrowboat. Firstly, a couple who were also waiting for the hotel shuttle bus asked us how long we were visiting the UK, and secondly the girl at the car hire desk. The reactions are priceless.