Hooray! Bill, Sam and I arrived at Gatwick early on Saturday morning. As expected, security was tight and our time at the airport in Atlanta was extremely dull, but this was briefly livened up by the sight of other passengers desperately trying to cram their oversized hand luggage into the bag gauge in an attempt to be allowed on board with it. One guy’s case actually got stuck and wouldn’t come out of the frame until the whole unit was turned upside down and vigorously shaken. Silly.
Sam was an angel on board the aeroplane. He was a bit unsettled at first but once we were underway properly he soon calmed down. There was a large tray that folded down in front of Bill and I onto which the cabin crew assembled a bassinet that resembled a crude car seat. Sam spent the majority of the flight in that, happily snoozing away, while Bill and I struggled to juggle everything else around us. Eating was especially tricky because I was handed my tray of food at a point when I did have Sam in my lap and I could barely move. The poor boy experienced “hot” for the first time when he stuck his hand into my piping veggie lasagne and squealed in pain. Not good. There wasn’t a great deal I could have done to prevent that as Bill and I had absolutely nowhere to put the tray out of reach, but it hit home that I am really going to start having to keep an eye on what Sam is trying to get his hands on from now on.
All in all quite an uneventful flight really. Wasn’t quite as easy taking baby as BA had made out but I wonder if that was more to do with the increased security. It was a little confusing when despite being told that our stroller would be waiting for us at the gate upon arrival, we had to wander through into baggage reclaim and collect it from the conveyor belt. I’m glad I’d kept my sling on me, else carrying a little bundle of wriggle would have been a right pain.
Immigration was a breeze with Bill being allowed to come in through the UK queue with Sam and I. A couple of quick questions and we were in and on our way to see Mum and Dad in Arrivals. Immediately as we came through the tunnel they were to be seen jumping up and down and waving enthusiastically amongst the waiting crowd. Yay! Soon Sam was getting lots of attention and cuddles. Big cheers for Nanna and Grandad.
The drive back down to Devon was long and uncomfortable. Sam’s car seat takes up the space of two people on the back seat and I was relegated to the little fold down chair at the back. This is usually Molly’s spot. I had to fold myself in half to squeeze in there amongst the luggage and when I nodded off I’d wake up feeling as if my ribs were grating up against each other. This wasn’t helped by the insane amounts of British holiday traffic slowly winding its way along the road to the West Country at a snail’s pace so it took us forever to get home. It was particularly bad as we passed by Stonehenge as it seemed everyone was slowing down to gawp as they drove past, causing tailbacks for miles. Gah.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we made it back to Ashridge to a waiting Sy, Mel and crazy Molly dog. Sy and Mel don’t look like they have changed at all and Molly was just as bouncy and big, black and hairy as ever. Hugs all around.
Having stayed in to wait for us, Mel and Sy were eager to get out of the house for a bit that evening and take the mutt for walkies. Bill passed out in our room, but I managed to pull it together and take Sam out to Grenofen with them.
Grenofen is an absolutely gorgeous place to go for a lovely walk just off the main Tavistock – Yelverton road. Minutes from Ashridge, you head away from all the traffic and down a narrow country road bordered by ubiquitous Devon hedgerows and wind down into the valley below. Over a bridge and amongst the trees there is a shady car park from where to start a pleasant wander in the woods alongside the River Walkham. Fun times for Molly as she can run around off leash to her heart’s delight and go swimming in the running waters.
Mum carried Sam in the Baby Bjorn. He seemed to have a great time and stared around wide eyed. Sy found a giant branch for Molly to fetch and she raced around like a mad thing, vigorously plunging into the water to retrieve her treasure. Mel, Mum and I had to watch our legs as Molly would eagerly come running up out of the river and back to Sy, branch in her mouth and with no heed for personal space or catching us behind the knees.
We also got to see Mowgs’ mad diving skills as she fished for stones we threw into the Walkham for her. Quite the little submarine is our Molly, never seen a dog actually go tail up and swim underwater the way she does, ’tis very impressive.
Oh it’s good to be back in the West Country with the folks.