Thursday 20 September 2012

First day in the UK

We got away to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  My mum dropped us off and we breezed through check in, immigration, customs etc.  When we opened our HSBC account we received two Qantas business class lounge passes.  That was a nice treat!  We had some lunch and enjoyed the quiet.  Just on boarding time we went back upstairs and had barely 5 minutes to wait.

The first leg of the flight from Australia to the UK is to Singapore and takes just a little more than 7 hours.  The second leg takes more than 13 hours, and in our case it was 14!  Oh, how painful that journey is.  I absolutely hate it and so does Mick.  By the time we arrived in London it was 24 hours since we got on the plane in Melbourne.

We had booked a hotel day room so we could have a shower and a nap before driving to Leamington Spa.  The first thing I did when we arrived there was to turn on my phone..... well I tried to.  It's dead!  It won't charge and won't turn on.  I'm stuck without access to my emails and contacts etc.  We bought a cheap little phone so we can make and receive calls but that's all it will do.  When I have time I'll investigate what's available in the way of phones.

We encountered our second little hiccup when we went to pick up the hire car.  They weren't going to let us take a car because we didn't have a return airline ticket!  I couldn't believe it.  The girl who served us was lovely but she had to get her supervisor because we didn't satisfy "the rules".  The supervisor had a bit of an attitude and despite my numerous suggestions for what might overcome the problem she was all set to turn us away.  Eventually she very grudgingly agreed that if I could produce a purchase document for nb Parisien Star as well as insurance documents that showed the same address, they would let us take a car.

We hightailed it up to Leamington and went to Tesco for some groceries and a quick visit down to the canal to see if there were any boats.  We watched 3 go by.

Now we are staying a couple of days with our friend Lois, with whom we exchanged houses for 5 weeks in 2007. 

We had a couple of encounters today where we told someone that we had arrived here today to spend a year aboard a narrowboat.  Firstly, a couple who were also waiting for the hotel shuttle bus asked us how long we were visiting the UK, and secondly the girl at the car hire desk.  The reactions are priceless. 


Tom and Jan said...

Well done...... After all that planning you've made it!
As for the phone, you might try looking at the £15 plan from 3 Mobile. It gives you 300 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited data. You can then tether your laptop, iPad, etc to the mobile (if it has the functionality)

Anonymous said...

welcome!!! welcome!!! welcome!!! I read your blog with such envy from february whilst planning my own life on the canal, after many delays and much heartache everything came together and I bought spitfire at the end of july, bit of faffing about til early september and she is at tooleys banbury having a bit of work done, i'll be back on her friday, you're gonna love it! x Candy Marsh

Jodi Living Simply said...

Well done! I haven't checked in for a while. Glad you made it safely and I look forward to hearing all your adventures. Jodi.

Paul and El said...

Welcome to the UK, re the car hire I'm afraid it doesn't get any easier as they don't keep the records on file so you have to go through the same procedure each time. Minor problem as you are going to love your new life.
P & E x

Mark and Corinne said...

Welcome to the UK, look forward to reading about your travels.

Elly and Mick said...

Thank you everyone!
Amazing to think we finally made it. Still not quite real... maybe not til we meet nb Parisien Star. Only 2 days away now.

KevinTOO said...

Welcome to GREAT Britain... I'm sure you'll love it. Looking forwards to reading your tales of your time here on the canals. Hope you have loads of fun :)

you might want to switch your PC settings to GMT now that you're here as your last two posts have appeared magically the day before their displaid date.. LOL

Elly and Mick said...

Thanks Kevin. You're right about the date. Will change it now! Hope we have good adventures to write about!!