Friday, March 21, 2008

Getting to the USA

Getting to Heathrow was not difficult and the flight set off on time - so .... all is good, and we arrive in Chicago for our transfer to San Fransisco - on time.

Then just a few problems, basically we arrived at Terminal 5 and had to get through immigration, collect bags, check the bags in again then get to Terminal 1 all within 1 1/2 hours

- not possible

Immigration takes ages, lots of questions and form filling and photos to be taken, as well as having our finger prints taken.

Waiting for bags is always a tedious waiting process, so the usual hanging about bit, but then simply to take them through customs, get them scanned and put back on the conveyor belt - hopefully to the correct plane, was just crazy.

Having gone through customs we then head off for terminal 1 - not very well signposted for a start, and on a connecting train, that goes in a loop - and of course terminal 1 is the last one on the loop.

When we arrive at Terminal 1 we realised that we had to go through security again as technically we were outside in the public area. We then found out that any duty free products we had bought and were carrying were not allowed through - perfumes, toiletries, spirits etc - so the options given were to check them into the hold - but we had no case - so that was out ...... or leave them - guess what we had to leave them - not very happy about that at all.

So through security again - shoes off, belts off etc, then find the departure gate, which of course was so far away and running did not help ...... 'cos the plane had gone without us.

So .... to find a helpful person - the first person I asked - nothing to do with me --- I just do ..whatever. Eventually a nice guy helps but we have to go on Standby for the next flight 3 hours later.

We then try to contact Farzin and Parisa who are due to meet us at San Fransisco - lots of fun with card phones and telephone numbers but eventually we get through.

Anyway back to Standby and it's a lottery - lots of asking and checking and standing around jostling for positions - the incoming plane is also late so that does not help and its further delayed 'cos one of the passengers getting off needs assistance and no wheelchair to be found - everybody around getting more and more stressed, fortunately we do get 2 standby seats and we are on the plane - it is full - overflowing in fact - bags every where and we set off. Some people did not get on - so we feel pretty lucky. I can tell you the woman allocating the standby seats was on a power / ego trip.

Once on we are in separate seats so we set about bartering our seats - Suri does this very well as I get a real good window seat near in the middle in exchange for my window seat at the very back. On this flight we have to buy the food for the 4.5 hour trip - and it was pretty poor the only option was a lunch box, basically crisp type snacks.

When we arrive it was straightforward but would Farzin and Parisa be there - fortunately yes - and we set off to their home in San Jose, where I am writing this from at the moment.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nellie Cawley

Sadly - Nellie passed away on the 5th March 2008, I believe aged 85, though I am not sure.

Through this blog I send my condolences to her children, Joan, Patrick and Eileen, and to her grandchildren Daniel, Geoffrey, Katey and Annie.

I last saw Nellie quite a few years ago, my now ex mother in law was a typical rugged and resolutely Irish woman, in the old traditional sense, small in build but large in stature she was always on the go, hardly ever resting always able to find things to do, and always a cup of tea on the table.

It is with great fondness that I remember her, my lasting memories are when we visited her in her home in Nenagh Co Tipperary, and when she visited us in Hertford, which is about 25 years ago now I think. This picture was taken then on the steps of St Pauls in the City of London.

I was pleased for Joan that she was able to be with her mother during the last few days, I am sure that this will be a great thing for Joan to remember.

I was also very proud that Geoffrey went over to Ireland for the funeral, and I am sure the memory of the traditional Irish funeral and wake will stay with him.

A lovely woman..........................

Monday, March 10, 2008

A few days in West Yorkshire

After Alan's birthday Suri and I stayed with Sue and Alan for the next few days.

Whilst there we did a bit of sightseeing - here are some photos of the places we visited, including Wainhouse Tower and on the rocks overlooking the lovely valley towards Sowerby Bridge.

We checked out Bolton Abbey, went to the beautiful Harrogate, where we had tea at Betty's.

We wandered along the rather muddy and overflowing canal towpath at Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

The weather was a bit on the cool side with an occasional snow flurry but it was certainly bracing and very refreshing.

Monday, March 03, 2008

1st March 2008 Alan's party

- it was his big 50, a couple of weeks late as he had been sunning himself in Egypt for the previous 2 weeks.

The funny thing was that I did not have a single picture of him on the party night and don't remember seeing much of him - anyway the rest of us had a good night as a lot of ale was consumed, the Todmorden British Legion Club did a roaring trade - one of their best nights for many a year.

Graham was helping out the singer and Jen and Peter had been to a posher sort of do earlier in the night so showed us all up a little - clothes wise that is.

Oh and those socks - yes they were worn by Emma - just love em!!!.

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