Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sammi, the Intrepid World Traveller

Samantha has now travelled by plane out of the country for the second time.  I know this may not be much by some people's standards, but I remember when I was a kid, all I wanted to do was to travel to another country.  I would watch The Price is Right with rapt attention, hoping against hope that the Showcase Showdown would be one with lots of trips, rather than refrigerators or dining sets.  I mean, what the heck is Broyhill anyway, other than something old fogies furnished their boring, stuffy houses with?  Right?  (Oh, how times have changed - I'd LOVE to get my hands on some of that Broyhill furniture now, to hell with the trips...).  When I was 11, I got my wish.  My father and I flew to Ireland to visit my cousins who were living there at the time due to my uncle's job.  My father stayed for a week or two, while I stayed on for a month, flying home alone.  When the woman sitting next to me on the plane on the return trip pulled out her rosary and started saying prayers before the plane took off, I started to re-think my eariler travel excitement, wondering if perhaps this may have been a bad idea after all. 

Last week's vacation to England contained some pretty colorful stories to tell.  Which I can't tell here, unfortunately.  It really is a bummer to have to edit blog posts, but at the risk of not knowing who is reading and at the risk of offending said parties, I will abstain.  But trust me, there was an awful lot to tell, from hysterical and almost unbelievable conversations between the casts of characters to the usual drama that unfolds when too many family members get together in one place at one time.  But I'll keep it straightforward, just saying that we visited lots of people, drove a lot, and had a hard time keeping Samantha entertained. 

She was soooo good, I have to say.  I was so impressed with her flexibility.  Here are some of the highlights:
     *Samantha had just gotten over being sick with a cold, strep and an ear infection, so we knew we may have some challenges ahead of us
     *She slept almost the whole trip there
     *She didn't eat much in the first few days, probably due to feeling a bit icky still from being sick, but she didn't complain, and she slept like a champ in strange beds.  She developed a nasty little cough that she still has, and for which I will be taking her to the doctor this evening
     *I still had a ton of chest congestion from a cold (which I'm on steroids for now after a visit to the doctor yesterday), so I wasn't quite up to snuff, either
     *Steve managed to get a cold in the last couple of days, so he ended up sick, too
     *Once her appetite returned, Samantha discovered a love of English sausages
     *She stayed dry the entire trip!!!  I'm still in shock.  The only time she had wet nappies was when she was sleeping, and two accidents on the plane ride home!
     *We had a hell of a return trip home, and ended up on the plane for 12 hours.  The flight was supposed to be 8 hours, but an extra hour was tagged on due to the necessity of flying up through Scotland to bypass the Infamous Icelandic Volcanic Ash Cloud.  The backlog of flights trying to fly through Scottish air space was so great that we were stuck on the ground (in the plane) for an extra two hours waiting for permission to take off.  Add to that the fact that the air conditioning on the plane wasn't turned on until we began to taxi, so they actually opened a back door to give us something resembling oxygen to breathe.
     *I left my leather coat on the plane in the overhead compartment.  Not a terrible tragedy, as I've had it for years and the lining was all ripped out, the buttons have all fallen off, and there are just holes to nowhere where the pockets once were.  Good excuse to get a new one...
     *Sammi (and we) visited many family members, each more colorful than the last.  Here they are, in no particular order:  Nana, Granddad, Uncle Keith, Auntie Jeanette, Grandma, Auntie Kaz, Uncle David, cousin Olly, cousin George, Auntie Bernie, Uncle Wall, Auntie Betty, and Auntie Mag. 

I quite like driving in England.  I have done it for nearly 20 years, and have no real reservations about driving on the other side of the road/car.  Steve's a great navigator, and always keeps me off the curb.  Now with the advent of GPS (SatNav to those of you in the UK), getting around is even easier ("Stay right.  At the roundabout, turn right, 3rd exit" - how can you miss?). 

We started out in York, several hours north of London.  Driving that distance after having flown for 7 hours and missing a full night's sleep is a bit of a challenge, but several cups of coffee and a few bags of crisps later, we finally arrived at Nana (Steve's mother) and Granddad's (Steve's step-father) house, where we spent the next 4 days trying to keep a very spoiled and very crazy calico cat from her true purpose of causing Samantha severe bodily harm.  Nothing happened, but on a couple of occasions I managed to grab Samantha in the nick of time before the hissing, spitting creature launched itself at her head. York's an amazing city.  I've included a couple photos of it below, but will post the rest on Flickr in the next few days.  Ancient and beautiful, a mixture of the old and the new in stark contrast to each other. 

We then went to Rugby for a few days before returning home, to stay with Grandma (Steve's step-mother) and her little Schnauzer, Izzy.   In contrast to our feline experience, Izzy was sweet, amiable and patient, with a love of small children.  Sammi was quite taken with her, and tried to play with her using the contents of her toy doctor's kit.  Izzy discovered that mealtime was a real treat when Sammi's fork got passed down to her for a lick.

Below are some pics, in no real order...

The fountain in York  ("Beautiful water," Sammi said)

On Daddy's shoulders.

I can do no wrong!

With Auntie Caz

Taking some time to play

Steve, with his usual cheer, in front of York Minster

Sammi & Izzy

Good girl on the airplane

The usual airplane mess (is there any way around this with a child?)

Another shot of York Minster

On Daddy's shoulders

The Shambles, York


Renee said...

Oh, that is a lot by my standards. I am actually a little jealous. I have never been across the pond. I still have that longing to travel to another country.

I am glad you had a nice trip. Samantha looks a little like her aunt.

RobMonroe said...

I'm so glad that you all had a great trip! SO Proud of Samantha and her dry pants - that is such awesome news!!

The pictures are awesome, but that was to be expected. :o)

Welcome home!

tekeal said...

sounds like an adventure! fun pics... .-)

Michelle said...

great pictures! looks like it was a wonderful trip!