OMG We’re in England! 27th to 29th May 2009

Posted on June 02, 2009 by sonjabarrie


Wednesday 27th May 2009 (Day 1)

We’re in England!
Well the day started as I hope the rest of the vacation doesn’t go on! After landing at Heathrow, 30 minutes early Wednesday lunchtime we ended up sitting on the tarmac for 40 minutes while the other planes all got out of the way so we could get in. So instead of getting off the plane early or on time we managed to get off 30 minutes late! Not a problem for us thank goodness but a bit of a pooh for those that had connections.

Next comes baggage claim, thankfully my case arrived but Tim’s didn’t! We went to the appropriate desks, filled out the appropriate forms, were reassured that it would be sent to Tim’s mums house later that day and off we went.

That was Wednesday lunchtime and we had been in our clothes already since the morning before, however, we figured as long as it arrived that day we (well Tim) would be OK. Tim could at least take a shower at his mum’s house. Well that was the theory anyway, however once we got to mum’s house we found that although the hot water had been running that morning now we had arrived it had stopped.

You have to understand how the water and heating system works in the UK, nothing like the US. There is a boiler on the wall (in an upstairs back bedroom) that runs to heat the house (radiators), or in mum’s case, as she has the thermostat down to zero it is mere decoration! She has it on a timer so that it runs for an hour or so in the evening and an hour or so early in the morning, that’s it, if you’re cold you sit in front of the gas fire, which she has running on low in the front room all day long. Forget about heat to the rest of the house, she rarely leaves the living room so why should you!

Inside this small (about 18 inches wide, two and a half feet tall and about 8 inches deep) boiler there is a switch that when you turn on the hot water it switches from heating the radiators (if the heating is on) to heating the hot water. Even if the timer is off for the heating it still heats the hot water, that is until we arrive. Mum says it had been working fine that morning but now nothing. The heating part is working fine and after reading the manuals, checking everything we could think of we called out the guy who put it in. He then spends half an hour looking everything over and comes to the same conclusion as us, the switch or a couple of other parts that all relate to switching from heating to hot water are kaput and as it is under warranty he tells us to call the manufacturer. Which we do but they can’t come out till the next day, Thursday.

So the best we can do is boil the kettle and have a good wash. As Tim doesn’t have his suitcase he can’t shave, we have no chargers, he has no change of underwear, socks, nada. Still we get through Wednesday and we are so tired with jet lag we don’t really care anyway!

Thursday 28th May 2009 (Day 2)
Thursday morning we call the manufacturer again to see if we can get a better idea of when they will be out, answer: “any time between 8am and 7pm” GREAT! Well, we have work to do around here so we just get on with it. Tim calls to chase his suitcase and is told, “The couriers will get it to you today” great, we’ll just get on with it and everything will be OK. I have to work on mums yard, the flower beds are full of weeds and she is too frail to do anything about it so I tackle that. The front gate is hanging off so Tim has to knock down half of the bricks and go buy cement and cement all the bricks back together and re-hang the gate.

You can see in the right hand post that the top bricks are gray, that’s where Tim took all the bricks off and had to re-cement them in order to hang the gate back on.

I have my eye appointment in Southampton at 6pm and half an hour before we have to leave the boiler repair guy comes, he can’t find the fault so just replaces all the parts for the hot water and presto we have hot water. When it’s Thursday afternoon and you haven’t showered since Tuesday morning it’s amazing how wonderful it feels to finally get clean!

So quick shower and off to my eye appointment, trouble is we get back to mum’s about 8:15pm to find NO SUITCASE. Tim is getting a little aggravated at this point. Even more so when he try’s to call the luggage support center only to find it had closed at 8pm.

Friday 29th May 2009 (Day 3)
Friday morning, he may be clean even if the clothes aren’t. Call the support center again, the guy at the other end gets pretty obnoxious and I have to say Tim was really calm, the guy at the other end wouldn’t give Tim the couriers number, his manager name, another phone number Tim could call, nothing. He just said if Tim was unhappy that he had to write to British Airways or he could go on the web and send an email, to which Tim informed him firstly we are leaving tomorrow and secondly the cables to get us on the internet were in the suitcase we were still waiting for (not that mum has internet access anyway but that’s beside the point).

Tim finally called British Airways Customer Relations and the guy on the end of that phone was, thankfully, very helpful. He gave us the name of the courier, gave us some good advice and told us to call back in an hour and he would know when the suitcase was being delivered. As it happened Tim had to actually call the couriers to get the time of delivery but they stated about 2:30pm that day. In the mean time on Friday I took mum shopping and to help her pay her bills.

She is so frail that she walks at the speed of a snail, has no idea what’s going on around her half the time and is tighter than I am when it comes to spending money so she’ll look at everything and buy nothing in slow motion. Do you have any idea how tiring it is walking at that speed? Plus I have to be hyper aware of where everyone else is in relation to her because one bump and she would be down and damaged big time! But at least Tim got the gate finished while we were out.

And the good news in all this? My eye appointment went well, he has prescribed different drugs for me to try, ordered a blood test as apparently as I am on such a high dose of such potent drugs I should have one every year to make sure they are not damaging my liver etc. and my doctor has never ordered one in over 2 years! Although it was chucking down with rain on the Wednesday when we got here, Thursday and Friday the sun has been shining and it has actually been warm which is great as mum doesn’t have a tumble dryer so everything gets hung on a washing line and my jeans got clean and dried and Tim’s are in the washing machine right now as they finally delivered his suitcase at 2:30pm Friday on the dot.

Hurray, he has a suit for the wedding!

Just a short update, although the pharmacy said I could pick up my meds about 4:30pm, when I got there, they didn’t have them and informed me that they should have them by 10:30am Saturday morning, when I informed them that we were flying out to Rome that afternoon all I got was that they “should” be there by 10:30am. We’ll see!

We have a pretty funny video of Tim’s mum but it’s 107mb so as soon as Tim gets it converted and makes it smaller I’ll upload it.

One Response to “OMG We’re in England! 27th to 29th May 2009”

  1. Yo Momma

    - 2nd Jun, 09 05:06pm

    Oh the drama, you couldn’t just go and have a nice peaceful time!! So glad I missed this trip because I would have been in tears. Glad to know that you made it to England safe and sound and that you are helping Tim’s Mom. I’ll bet she really appreciates it. I hope your wedding in Rome is a bit more fun and relaxing for you. See you soon

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