Sunday the 14th saw me driving down to the airport to start my journey back to England. I’d persuaded my boss that I should leave for Christmas a week earlier than originally planned and work while I was in England. This was mainly due to it saving me a couple of hundred pounds in airfare. My boss, thankfully, agreed! That Sunday night I was spending in an airport hotel. My flight wasn’t too early the next morning and I definitely could have driven down the next day but the cost of the hotel and their parking while I was away was less than the cost of normal airport parking so a night in the hotel it was.
After a quite lazy start to the next day I made my way over to the airport. Turns out they changed the plane from that originally scheduled for my transatlantic leg and the seat they’d put me in was in the middle of the plane. It was still an aisle seat so I wasn’t too bothered but I thought I’d use it an excuse to see if I could get a nicer seat. I’d originally had an outside aisle seat (if that makes sense) and I could see there were no normal economy seats like that left, only some in the “plus” section. Basically all this means is four more inches leg room. Still was worth the punt and I was successful in getting one for free – as opposed to over one hundred dollars normally.
The nice thing about flying to the US from Halifax is that you get to do pre-clearance, i.e. you do immigration and customs in Halifax. There’s never much of a queue and the staff seem friendlier. I suspect the two are linked. There was nothing exciting to say about the flight to Newark. I then had about five hours to kill at Newark. With incredibly shit internet – despite having paid for it. Still I somehow survived. I also somehow survived the red-eye. I still hate them! Did watch How To Train Your Dragon 2 though which made it a bit more bearable. As did the extra leg room. My parents were kind enough to pick me up again. It’s safe to say I slept some on the way back to theirs and then went to bed for a few hours when I got there.
My first few days back at my parents I didn’t get up to anything much exciting at all. Chatted to my parents. Went and got coffee with them in the morning. Did some work. Recovered from jet lag. That was about it really. On the Friday I picked up a rental car but still nothing much exciting happened other than that I brought a new pair of climbing shoes, and calling that exciting is a stretch. Saturday was a little more exciting as I spent part of the morning taking photos of birds in my parents garden and then I went and saw my brother and sister-in-law, which is always enjoyable. Then things went back to nothing much exciting happening. I went swimming. I think that was just about the most exciting thing to happen before Christmas itself.
Christmas Day my parents once again got my brother and sister-in-law visiting. Not sure how they seem to always end up at my parents for Christmas. Not that I’m complaining as it’s really nice to see them. This year they both had quite a lot of time of around Christmas which meant they got over to my parents a little earlier than the last couple of year which made for a more laid back and relaxed day. Christmas was much the same as normal. Lots of food, lots of drink, lots of presents and playing games. Really can’t complain at all!
The big present I got this year was a new camera lens, a Canon EF 35mm f/2 for those into that sort of thing. I also got a couple of other camera bits. Once again my parents came up trumps with something I wasn’t expecting. This years it was a couple of cushions with a wolf on them. When I went to Yellowstone I brought a throw with a Wolf on it which I use as a rug. They’d obviously noticed this when they came to visit me and so got the cushions to complement it.
Boxing day was more of a quiet affair. Still lots of food and games playing but less alcohol and presents – well none of the latter. We all went for a short walk in the morning and I took some photos of a cat with my new lens. My brother and his wife left late afternoon and I left not long after them – hence the lack of drinking on my part. The plan was to drive to Nottingham to pick up Jen and then drive onwards and spend the night in the Peak District. I should have had plenty of time for this. There were forecasts of snow but I though how bad could it be, this is England. Well it turned out that although the snow wasn’t that bad it did cause chaos! But that will be in my next post.