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Bucolic England

Bucolic England (Hyde Hall, Essex)

We left Canada from Toronto Airport after Air Canada had generously provided a 6 hour wait between our flight from Winnipeg and the flight to Heathrow.  We had access to the business lounge so it wasn’t too bad.  In Toronto the staff looking after the desk in the lounge were very efficient, greeted us, if not warmly, at least politely.  There was no unnecessary chit-chat, just checked our tickets and made sure we were allowed access and then continued to talk among themselves.

You know you are in England when you enter the Air Canada arrivals lounge at Heathrow.  This is a rather tiny facility equipped with several showers and a machine that makes horrible coffee – don’t try the cappuccino! But that’s not why you know you are England – you know you are in England when the very happy, pleasant and concerned person staffing the desk greets you warmly.  There were five of us arriving at once.  Two couples and a single.  Obviously this onslaught created a great deal of concern and fussing.  We heard copious explanations and apologies for the delay in taking care of each of us.  “You see, we have two flights arriving at the same time and it’s Monday morning”.  “I’m very sorry”.

We were helped with checking our suitcases and put our names on the list for showers. We were numbers 5 and 6.  Only in England would the staff person fuss around and apologize continuously and act like our mum even though I must be at least ten years older than she. It was quite lovely in a slightly overpowering way.

There were others arriving and being added to the list for showers.  When it came turn for number 5, my wife, the hussy, asked if we could shower together!  The response was “Oh thank you, how kind, that will move the list up more quickly.  Oh good, you have one of the bigger showers. I’ll make sure we put two lots of towels in there.”

Just then we received an email from our daughter and son-in-law to say they were parked and ready to pick us up.  We said we would be a few minutes as we were just going for a shower.

When we came out, mum had let them in (big sign, no guests) and they were happily chatting and waiting for us.

Toronto, Canada, cool efficient – Heathrow, England, fussing and apologetic – it’s great to be back.

Then we were off to sunny Essex and a lovely tour around the M25 (Motorway that circles London and is renowned for traffic slow-downs).  After about an hour of fast travel, son-in-law remarked “I can’t believe how easy the traffic is today”, then we turned a bend and started to join the queue that slowed down to a standstill a few miles back from road-works.  We knew we were in England as we watched the traffic backed up for miles going in the other direction.  Luckily our side soon cleared up and we were quickly at our destination.

We knew we were in England when saw the green hills, the flowers and had a nice cup of tea – from a teapot!

Next time a short tour of Hyde Hall, I left a teaser photograph at the beginning of this post.