Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

If Santa didn’t bring you everything you wanted yesterday… there’s a reason. Blame our illustrious Congress critters:

Billions for Detroit and the financial industry… but nuthin’ for St. Nick. Go figure.

h/t: Barry.

―:☺:―

Today is Boxing Day in the Ol’ British Empire. I always… without fail… think of this on December 26th

I did recall, in great detail, the year we spent Christmas night on a British Airways flight from Detroit to London. Our flight left sometime around six or seven in the evening on Christmas Day, and we were at the airport a good three hours before that. There were three of us: TSMP, our great good friend Kim, and myself. It was Kim’s first trip outside the US, and she was as excited as is humanly possible. The flight was nearly empty because, who, after all, travels on Christmas Day? Just us bargain hunters. TSMP and Kim stayed awake most of the flight. I, on the other hand, found an empty row and slept. Don’t you just love empty airplanes on transatlantic flights? It doesn’t happen a lot these days, from what I read.

We arrived at Heathrow around 0700 and were completely through customs and baggage claim in about an hour. The Captain, although he was either a Buck Sergeant or a Staff Sergeant stationed at RAF Lakenheath at the time, met us at Arrivals. We loaded up the luggage and piled into his ratty old British Ford Cortina with the broken heater and leaky floor and did the patented B&P nickel tour of London for Kim’s benefit.

Sidebar: I use the term “B&P nickel tour” in a very personal sense. TSMP and I lived in London from 1980 - 1983 and we had a LOT of visitors. After the first wave of visitors had come and gone we developed our own little two-hour driving tour of London that hit all the high spots: Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, et al. We also threw in a few of our favorite places. It was great fun reliving that tour!

So. After the tour we grabbed lunch and went to the hotel for a little nap before our evening out. And thus began the ten-day England Christmas Tour of 1990-something. I don’t remember the exact year, actually. But I sure remember that trip…one of my BEST Christmases (and New Year’s), ever.

The Best Thing about our arrival in London on Boxing Day was the heretofore unmentioned party we went to that evening. TSMP, SN1, Good Friend Kim, and I went to my Brit Buddy Rob’s place, where we partied into the wee small hours. The most interesting thing about that party was that Rob and I picked up exactly where we’d left off more than ten years earlier. It was as if we’d seen each other only yesterday. It’s like that with great, good friends.

So… a visit from The Ghost of Christmas Past. Which ain’t all bad, Gentle Reader.

9 comments:

  1. Hey, I was there, too, then. At Alconbury and Fairford. December 1980 to May 1983. I always had my friends take the Round London tour from Picadilly Circle; it was cheap and hit all the high points, and they got to ride on a double-decker. Then I'd show them my favorites, afterward.

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  2. Very cool. Love the idea of the "B&P Nickel Tour". When you live in place like England you have to expect that from visitors I would imagine.

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  3. Open seats on transatlantic flights - oh yeah, those were the days. Pick your flight right and you could stretch out across four empty seats in the center aisle of a widebody 747 and get a good night's sleep!

    Those days are *long* gone.

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  4. Merry Christmas...or rather, Happy Boxing Day!!!!! All the best to you and yours!!

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  6. I remember being on domestic flights that had lots of empty seats... I think American or Delta? Airlines used to fly the big jumbo's from Jacksonville to Boston... Now that was a RIDE! 3 sets of seats wide and over half empty! Last flight I took to FL was ridiculously cramped, stuffed to the gills with people and a long uncomfortable ride. Ugh.
    Condolences on the Wings last night... 40 shots on net and still couldn't shake the bad voodoo!

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  7. Gordon sez: Hey, I was there, too, then. At Alconbury and Fairford. December 1980 to May 1983.

    It's not out of the realm of possibility we ran into each other then, Gordon. I did a lot of traveling back and forth to both Alconbury and Fairford... it was kinda-sorta the nature of my job. Lotsa trips to Mildenhall, too! ;-)

    Kris sez: Very cool. Love the idea of the "B&P Nickel Tour". When you live in place like England you have to expect that from visitors I would imagine.

    Yep.. and we got a TON of visitors, too. TSMP's parents came every year we were there, always bringing an aunt/uncle or two along, as well. And ALL of TSMP's college friends came over, as well. Summers were pretty danged busy...

    Barry sez: Open seats on transatlantic flights - oh yeah, those were the days. Pick your flight right and you could stretch out across four empty seats in the center aisle of a widebody 747 and get a good night's sleep!

    Those days are *long* gone.


    I suspected as much, Barry. And what you mentioned is exactly what I did... four seats, empty row... zonk.

    Katy: I know your Christmas was good! It's always good to be home for the holidays... innit?

    Alison: I hear ya about flying these days. I'm OH-so-grateful I don't have to fly much any longer. I used to live on airplanes for a time, back in the day. It was much easier, then.

    Yeah... sad about Da Wings. But, as The Ol' Man used to say... "ya gotta expect losses!" We're still doing pretty well, Number Two in the West and first in the division... :-)

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  8. Buck,

    Your name seems familiar. We had some AFCC guys that fixed our weather equipment, but I'm sure you weren't one of those. But you might have been the guy who showed up to borrow our satellite photo receiver/printer in 1982; that person took it to the Brit Met Office in Bracknell. It was during the Falklands war, and the Brits had no weather satellite capability for the south Atlantic. It was all on the hush-hush, because at that moment we were still neutral.

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  9. Nope... that wasn't me who came and got the satellite photo receiver. But I DO remember we were QUITE busy at the 2119 Comm Sq during the Falklands war, tho... ;-)

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