Monday, 15 September 2008

Oh, yes, I'm sure it'll be fine - says the guy in Wales.

riany then cleared and now sunny. Temps 20

We're back in Montreal! What a long day yesterday was. Travel days always are. We got up around 7:30 in Cambridge, had breakfast in the flat then packed and rolled the suitcases through the cobbled streets (what a racket! thud, thud, thud - and shaking our arms off) to the bus-stop. Thankfully it's only a couple of blocks away - couldn't be more convenient. And after a week of rain it was finally sunny. We were supposed to catch the 11am bus to the airport but when we arrived at about 10:30 a bus to Heathrow was waiting, so we hopped on.

Not sure we saved ourselves any time. This seemed to be the milk-run. Still, we got to relax and watch the rolling green hills go by.

I think the most stressful part of the whole day was getting from the central bus station at Heathrow to Terminal 4. It involved waiting with about 100 other people, all like us with tons of luggage, for 4 elevators. When one door opened we all tried to crowd in. It was a total crap shoot - a Darwinian experiment. I wondered if there were CCTV cameras recording it for some reality show on torture and human dynamics.

I don't react well in those situations. I generally try to be courteous, allowing others, especially elderly people in. But after being screwed a few times I become worse than anyone - giving sneering, glaring looks - 'Just try it' my face snarls. And I'm yelling at Michael - 'Over there, over there - quick!' He meanwhile, has a far-away look on his face and a slight smile. He's gone.

Once down the elevator (we have to catch 2!!) we had to find the train link from that terminal to Terminal 4. Then wait with the growing crowds, then race to the door with 100 other people and shove our way in. Honestly. I hate it. Get very stressed. I want to be decent, and kind and accommodating. But I'd like others to be that way for me too. And I learned quickly, if I want to be like that (which is fine) I'd better be prepared to live out my life in the train station. Never actually going anywhere.

Once at Terminal 4 life became easier. We get to use the First Class check in - much faster. There I can be courteous because there's no one else there. Very helpful.

Then through security and off to the first class lounge where they serve hot and cold food, have beverages and newspapers. I'm tempted to say for free, but you pay for it a thousand times over in the ticket.

The flight itself was easy, except it was delayed an hour. Seems, the pilot explained once we were onboard and couldn't escape, someone backed a truck into a cargo door of the plane. So they had to inspect it, measure it, photograph it - have enginners look, then send the whole report to some guy whgo lives in Wales. He had to interrupt his dinner to look at the info. Then he gave his OK.

I think two things about flying. 1) Children should be placed, along with their parents and a lot of toys, into a cargo bay. 2) Any engineer who says a plane is safe after being damaged should be forced to fly on it.

We had great seats - loads of legroom - and spent the flight plugged into our ipods. I finished editing book 5 at 38,000 feet, somewhere over the Atlantic. Amazing feeling.

It was 26 degrees in Montreal at 9pm when we landed. We raced for security - but arrived behind 600 other people. Still, the line went quickly and we got our luggage, grabbed a cab and were home within an hour of the plane landing. Heaven.

It's so great to be back in the Montreal apartment. We have a fabvulous breakfast out at Chez Cora's - then Michael got to work on his book while I walked to the shops and got us some salads and diet ginger ale for lunch. Spent the morning replying to emails and writing articles people wanted. Need to remember a couple of interview requests as well.

Tomorrow we drive to Elora, Ontario. About a 7 hour drive. To Cousin Marjorie (one of the templates for Ruth). She adores food, and so we're taking her and her/our very good friend Margo Morgan (who had a recipe column in Canada for many years under the name Margo Oliver and put out a number of cookbooks) to a restaurant they love in Niagara on the lake. It's about a 2 hours drive each way and they're beyond doing it themselves. This must be one fantastic restaurant. I'm dying to see it - and have a meal. Will report back, mes amis.

Won't be able to blog again until we reach the hotel in Toronto on Thursday. The family's descending for a Penny family reunion. Rob, Audi and Sarah from Edmonton, Michael and me from Quebec and Doug, Mary, Brian, Roslyn and Charlie from Toronto. We bought giant Toblerone bars for the kids...if Michael doesn't eat them first. We'll see how long we last before the first tears.

Talk to you then - hope you're well. It is great to be home!


Elizabeth said...

Welcome back to Canada! Spent a half hour at our local coffee shop (not a Starbucks, thank-you) discussing "The Cruellest Month" with a friend who has just decided to have a go at writing her first book--not fiction, but law-related. Then, after some grocery shopping (fresh corn and beautiful swiss chard), returned home and read Stephanie McPhee's long and emotional latest blog entry on the scariness of the writing process. She sounds so much like you--worth reading if you have time. I know, you're driving across the continent, but I really do recommend it.

Rebecca said...

You've been so kind about UK airports/airlines in the past I thought you had to be in line for a Queen's birthday honour of some kind - or at least royal treatment. Obviously no one's told Heathrow (or the Queen).
I thought Heathrow was the world's nastiest airport for years, familiarity breeding contempt perhaps, until I went to Paris Charles de Gaulle...
But I have to admit I'm not good at airports or flying: no good at the cattle bit (cow I do quite well).