Monday, 30 May - Tuesday, 31 May
In Which We Arrive Safely
This year we flew Continental. When I worked in the airline industrty, we despised Continental, considering it no competition at all, at the bottom of the heap, suffering from problems of maintenance and integrity.
This time, however, we were quite pleased. Both flights, the one out of Richmond and the one out of Newark, departed and arrived on time. Service was good, seats were good, food was good. On the trans-Atlantic leg, we had extreme good luck. The flight was full; there was only one, single, empty seat, and it was right between us. So we got to spread out some, which makes a considerable difference.
We flew comfortably into the night, and a couple of hours later, into glorious day, in time to see broad stretches of Ireland through the breaks in the clouds. As Manchester, our destination, is right across the Irish Sea, we got there very soon afterwards; in fact, we arrived 20 minutes early.
David was waiting for us, although Julia had to work.
He drove us to our little flat, and we were there by 9:30. James, his son, had already brought us his TV for the duration. 'Never actually took it away,' David said.
The next thing I noticed was a pot of begonias atop the fridge! Then David pointed out the coffee and the tea he and Julia had brought. And then - he opened the fridge, and it was full!! They had stocked it with everything from butter and yogurt to a roasted chicken, potatoes, cole slaw, tuna salad, bread, and I can't remember what all else, but several other items.
It meant we didn't have to make a trek to the supermarket for two or three days.
'Just kick back and relax,' said David as he departed. 'Oh, and it's all dusted and hoovered for you.'
!!! Imagine the kindness.
So we crashed for the rest of the day.
Thursday, 02 June
Doing as Little as Possible
We crashed after we arrived, and have felt groggy most of the time since. Our only activity, only time we've been out of the house, was to meet David and Julia, together with James and his girlfriend, Kim, for dinner last night. James is Demetrios' godson.
It was great to reunite with all of them, and the food was good, too. But frankly, it's all still a blur, and I don't remember many details.
We did venture into town today, sort of reconnecting with its stone sidewalks and cobbled streets, Victorian buildings, the old Clock Tower, the odd-looking, gray-stoned Ormskirk Parish Church, with both tower (square) and spire (conical).
We shopped for some food at Morrison's, nearest supermarket, and on our way home, we stayed half an hour on a park bench beside the pond in Coronation Park to watch the waterfowl, the moorhens and coots and mallards and gulls.
The mallards had nine ducklings, including a bright yellow one, much more conspicuous than the rest. As I said to Demetrios, 'If you'll pardon the expression, that one's a sitting duck for predators like the Yellow-legged Gull.' We watched the gull making continual passes over the ducklings, but their parents (as well as two 'uncles') were guarding them too carefully.
No sign of the swans. Eventualy three pair of Canada geese appeared, and as they swam past us, I said, 'Maybe they've displaced our swans.'
No way! Little did I know. About 45 seconds later the swans appeared, emerging furiously from the underbrush of the island in the middle of the pond. And with much noise (from so-called Mute Swans!) and much splashing and flapping of wings, the swans chased the Canada Geese, all six of them, right out of the water.
Then the cygnets appeared, six of them this year. Still quite small. We were delighted to have stayed long enough to see them. But we left quite soon, as it had become nerve-wracking to watch the gull trying to steal a duckling.