As expected my body forced me awake early this morning, but it was nice to be back in my own Bermuda bed after a great Christmas at home with our families.
However the imperturbable other half will tell you, my disposition driving anti-clockwise around the M25 from Heathrow to pick my son up on the day we arrived was not particularly festive. Anyway a better journey under the now toll-less Dartford Tunnel to an old mate’s house in St Albans to be met with chili and lot’s of red wine did the trick, and despite a hangover the drive to Oxfordshire on Christmas Eve via Henley had me ready for Santa.
I was on the nice list, which was a pleasant surprise, as was my daughter, which was less of a surprise, and my other half’s family were in great spirits and we had a wonderful couple of days with them before we left early on Boxing Day to drive into London to my brother’s. My parents were already in situ as was my sister in law’s family and we had another very lovely day, rare days of us all being together that should be cherished.
The thought and lead up to Christmas back in the UK is very unappetizing, but I love it when we’re right in the middle of it all, and after last year when we spent Christmas by ourselves, nice that it was, it just wasn’t the same, Christmas is all about family, and particularly important for us is that our daughter gets to spend time with her cousins, Aunties and Uncles plus, important to her, assorted pet dogs.
The cost and headache of trying to organize our trip way in advance when no one else wants to think about it, plus the amount of luggage we have to haul around (some of our presents were opened and then taped up by TSA), not to mention car hire issues, traffic, and the obligatory bad backs and tired eyes, slither away into small matters as we all sit around and share stories and jokes with the people we love.
We were in Atlanta to begin with, which was fun again, but it was our day in London at the end of our 10 day trip, which will stay in my memory longer.
For the last couple of nights, we based ourselves in Canary Wharf, which I hardly recognize from the ghost town of a place my mates used to head to from the city for a change of scene in the late 90’s. Canary Wharf’s evolution is a miracle of urban planning and development. I have been trying hard to remember what the whole area looked like when I first started work in the mid 80’s when it was the West India Docks.
We travelled there by Thames Clipper, which was great, and then before walking to the O2 we did a round trip on the Emirates Air Line, which was a cable car ride offering a birds eye view of this corner of London, north and south, warts and all. It will be interesting to see how the landscape changes over the next few years and hopefully the Emirates Air Line can continue to oversee it.