We arrived in London late in the evening from Aberdeen. For once it was truly dark.
While we were there Shetland was close to Simmer Dim, the time of year when it never truly gets dark so we were used to lots of light late at night and also very early in the morning.
London was experiencing some rainstorms so our flight was delayed and we had to wait for checked baggage because this time Doug’s backpack didn’t clear check-in. Could have been those rocks he collected.
Anyway, our driver Mohamed was patiently waiting for us in the airport when we walked out. I always wanted to have my name on a card being held by someone at the airport and there he was.
He was very tall. Huge hands. Reminded me of the James Bond character with the gold teeth? Only friendly of course.
He was driving us from Heathrow to a horse farm with an AirBnB that was near Gatwick. I wanted somewhere close to Gatwick so that it would be easy to catch our flight from London to Calgary and I found this beautiful place in the country.
Trouble was - it was dark, rainy, the farm was hard to find, and Mohamed was a wee bit stressed because he was late to pick up another customer at Gatwick.
Again we were in a van going around roundabout after roundabout until I was nearly sick. We finally reach the road to the farm. I’m reading him directions and we end up going by the entrance to the house.
Suddenly we are driving on a tiny, single lane road that’s muddy with a driver who is late and who can’t turn around. We must have driven for two miles before he decided to make an eight point turn to turnaround and we end up back at the farm entrance.
“But this is where we were before,” he says with some confusion.
“Yes, sorry about that,” I tried to apologize. “We must have missed the sign before.”
After he left I said to D. “I’m pretty sure Mohamed hates us.”
”Do you think we should send him a card?” D. suggested.
We were both so tired that it all seemed absurdly funny.
“I think we should leave it alone.”
D. was over the moon at the place we were staying. It had originally been an outbuilding on the farm and then the groom’s quarters. But the builder and designer had done a fine job.
Exposed beams, historic touches, top of the line appliances. It all looked brand new. We were so tired we each took a bedroom to see if we could catch up on sleep.
Mine was very comfortable but I woke up to a sound that seemed familiar but I couldn’t place it at first.
You know that point in a movie where you here a plane come in, see it drop something and then hear an explosion? Well in this case it was simply the “Neeeerrrr” sound of a plane coming in (without the explosion).
That’s when it dawned on me. We were staying right in the flight path of Gatwick airport. Every 3 minutes a plane landed overhead.
I dragged myself out of bed and moved to the kitchen to start some tea and breakfast from the food we brought with us from Shetland.
D. insisted on bringing salmon (yes it was still wrapped but raw!), broccoli, red peppers, and lemons.
Anyway we turned on the television loudly to block out the airplanes landing, and decided to do two things: Walk the mile and a half to the local pub for lunch, and go to Hever Castle (it has a moat!) to see the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Pictures below of the pub and the castle.
It was a very British, perfect day to end the trip.