Pages

Friday, 19 April 2013

Together again, at last!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Last Wednesday I went down to Heathrow Airport to pick up Millie. She had travelled 4,500 miles to be with me here in England - all the way from Tennessee no less. It was lovely to see her again!

I was expecting to collect her from Airpets at Terminal 5, but in the event, she was waiting at the Animal Reception Centre, which is much nearer to Terminal 4.  The two terminals are a long way from each other so I caught the coach to the Central Bus Station near Terminals 1,2 and 3 and then got a bus from there.

It was rather exciting.  It felt a bit like Christmas! When I got to The Central Bus Station, it was lunch-time so I stopped there and bought some lunch and a newspaper. The paperwork said it could take up to five hours before Millie was checked and cleared for collection so I was prepared for a long wait.  After I'd eaten my sandwich and drunk my drink, I phoned the Reception Centre and they told me that Millie had arrived safely and that they would ring me when she was ready for collection.  I decided not to wait at the Bus Station.  It was very busy there. I thought I might be better waiting at the Reception Centre itself so I asked the lady on the Information Desk which bus I needed to catch to get to Terminal 4. She told me I needed the number 555 and that they ran every 30 minutes.

I caught the next one, at 12.25 and asked the driver if he would drop me off near the animal place. He said there was a bus-stop right outside so I didn't have to walk very far. The Reception Centre itself was being filmed when I got there.  Who knows, I might be on T.V. at some point. There were people waiting in the conservatory waiting area, which was very comfortable.  Everyone was excited and nervous and longing to see their pet again.

While I was waiting, I phoned the taxi firm to arrange for transport home. Millie was in a larger than average cage because that's the way they do it, so I needed a people carrier taxi to accommodate her.
I waited there for 30 minutes or so and then she was brought out to me. She looked a bit scared but I think she recognised me. I know she recognises my voice and all was soon well. A few soothing words goes a long way...

When I got home my son was here, working from home. I left Millie in the cage for half an hour and then let her out to explore the house. She was purring as she looked around. I expect she was glad to be free again although she had been let out 2 or 3 times during the long journey, which started with a 3 1/2 hour car ride from Knoxville to Atlanta.

So far so good, but she still had to meet my English cat, Patch and the neighbourhood terror - The Ghost. More of Millie's adventures next time.

Millie looking out of my window.  "Where the .....! am I?  Oh well, at least I didn't have to go into quarantine!"
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

My Memoirs - 2 - 1953


1953 - 2

This is the second part of My Memoirs. Here you see me at aged two years, on the beach in 1953. I think it is Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight.


From Wikipaedia: 'The Isle of Wight pron.: is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 3–5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated from Great Britain by a strait called the Solent.


Population: 140,500, 2010
Isle of Wight

Of course I don't remember the occasion, but I've heard enough stories about our visit to the Isle of Wight, over the years, that it is familiar to me, even in the telling.

We stayed in a caravan on a caravan park, which was nice because there were no doubt other families there, company for all of us. Apparently the bed that my dad slept in was too short for him and he had to put his feet in the small cupboard at the bottom.  Sounds uncomfortable, doesn't it.

This time period was not long after World War II ended so it was a time when people could relax a bit and maybe let their guard down. It was still a time of food rationing, which didn't end till 1954. You can read more about food rationing in the United Kingdom here.

In my youthful state, I knew nothing about wars, food rationing or other hardships which my parents had just endured. I was on the beach, probably for the first time! and I was having a good time. My parents must have scrimped and saved to afford that holiday because they only had rented rooms to live in with a shared bathroom and kitchen down the corridor.

1953 was notable for many things, some of which I list below in chronological order:

Ian Fleming had just published his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.

Winston Churchill received a Knighthood from the Queen.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth took place at Westminster Abbey and

Laura Ashley sold her first printed fabrics.

No doubt I ate my way through a fair few clouds of candy-floss and at least half a dozen ice-creams.

Star