June 23 – A Room with a View
Morning at Feversham
I slept a little later this morning. I made it all the way to 6:00AM, and ignored the fact that it should have felt like 1:00AM. Although I have a dragon to face this morning, I seem to have, thankfully, eluded the jet-lag beast.
By the time I've dressed I find Dana already on the stairs. Down we creep for an early morning smoke (cough). Usually I don't smoke at all until after I've packed lunches, made beds, fed hungry children and then fed myself, so I am mentally scolding myself for this new bad habit I've added to my existing bad habit. As most scoldings do, it falls on deaf ears.
It's windy and chilly outside, though patches of blue are peeking through the cloud cover. Dana and I share stories about our younger and wilder days as we smoke (cough). I listen raptly to her tales of rock concerts at the Fillmore East. Dana is a great storyteller, and I feel as if I'd been there with her and her crazy friends.
After a bit we retire to the lounge where soon we are joined by a couple from the States who have arrived in the wee hours of the morning. They've already been on the phone to their airline; one of their bags was lost. This isn't their first trip though, and they seem to take the mishap in stride. Soon they are waxing poetic about Whitby Abbey, which they visited on a previous trip. Whitby Abbey, a place, I realize as soon as they mention it, that I've forgotten to add to my list of must-sees. It's the first time I think to myself, "next trip."
We are then joined by a man who plops down beside me on the window seat and proceeds to take over the conversation, talking about where he will play golf while in Scotland. He makes mention of his wife, who has yet to join us, and I ask what she will do while he golfs. "I don't know, I don't care," he replies. What a jerk. He then makes mention of a son and Dana asks how old he is. "I don't know, I don't care," he replies again. I ask where he's from, just to be polite (thinking to myself, I don't know and I really don't care). "Virginia," he responds. I cringe inwardly.
Breakfast is served and Robin arrives soon after. I tell her about the jerk we met. "Which one is he?" she asks softly, taking a quick peek over her shoulder. "No, no, don't look now!" she whispers. I get the giggles again. There's something contagious about Robin's joie de vivre and I suddenly realize that the great time we had the day before was not a fluke. I'm in for the trip of a lifetime – great company and a lot of fun in a land that I've loved from afar for years.
I feel completely at ease and at home. Or maybe at home in a different dimension because I hear a phone ring down the hallway, and a few moments later Nick appears next to our table and says it's for me. With a teenaged son and a "tweenaged" daughter, the phone's rarely for me when it rings at home. St. George has arrived and is calling from his car phone. Outside I go for a quick meet and greet, then Robin and Dana join us and introductions are made all around.
It's time to face the dragon. My much dreaded trip to the bank to attempt to retrieve my ATM card is upon me and I feel as if I'm about to fight City Hall. I've already resigned myself to the likelihood that I will be using my Visa card for cash advances for the remainder of the trip. This is exactly what happens.
The dragon is not slain, but sufficiently humbled, thanks to a phone call by St. George. I meet with the bank manager who removes my card from the machine, hands it back to me and allows me to try it in a different machine. But, alas and alack, my card is retained once again.
I graciously decline the bank manager's offer of a phone to call my bank, not wanting to reveal myself to be an unsophisticated American tourist. I've never made a transatlantic phone call before, and knowing the upheaval that has been going on with the merger of my bank with another, I seriously doubt it would do any good. As I make my first cash advance withdrawal, a very quick and painless process, I am mentally composing a nasty-gram to my bank back home.
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