I got back from my trip to England yesterday around noon. It was a fabulous 8 days filled with new sights and foods and adventures, and lots of very precious people encountered along the way. The reason for going to London was to attend a friend's wedding, after which we were taking 5 days to see other friends and a bit of the country.
It started off not looking so good when I arrived at Heathrow just before noon last Friday after an all-night flight and heard my name paged in the luggage area. A nice man informed me that my bag had missed my first flight to Halifax and had then been sent to Toronto where the weather was not so good. He hoped that it would arrive the next day. Okay. There was nothing I could do about that, so I headed off to my hotel, checked in, and then jumped on the tube to spend the day seeing the sights in downtown London. I came back to the hotel later that evening to have dinner with a friend and my bag was still nowhere in sight. The next morning I checked with the airline and they said the bag had arrived and was with the courier. I could expect it in a few hours. Since I was leaving for the wedding in 2 hours, I hoped and prayed that it would be sooner than that, but when our ride arrived at noon, my bag and Dean (who flew in a day after I did) were still missing.
Thankfully, Dean arrived 20 minutes later, fresh off the plane and already in his suit (we had only packed one piece of luggage between the two of us and I had taken it) . My bag, however, with my dress, shoes, make-up, contact lenses, deodorant, toothbrush, comb, and two wedding gifts, never did make it in time. It showed up at the hotel 27 hours after I touched down and while we were at the reception.
But the important thing was that we were there, so I spritzed on some Celine Dion perfume which Rachel, our friendly driver and friend of the bride, had with her and off we went. No one seemed to even notice that I was in jeans and a black t-shirt amidst all the dresses and a few hats. The wedding was informal and relaxed and we were made to feel right at home even though we only knew two other people there. We hugged people and witnessed the ceremony and talked and laughed and took pictures and ate lots of English food (first time I tried clotted cream) and met cool people and danced to a great jazz band and then found our back to the hotel via the train and bus thanks to Tammy from South Africa. It was a very full and fun day - a great beginning to our week in England.
I have never been so glad to brush my teeth as I was that night, and clean clothes have never brought a sigh of delight from my lips like they did the next morning. I managed to mail the wedding gifts on Monday from a post office a block from our hotel downtown. All things came out well. I realised that people are more gracious than I give them credit for, and that I am still too preoccupied with what I look like and compare myself too much with others. I also get freaked out about things that don't really matter to anyone else but me. This wedding experience was a wonderful gift to me, as I hope our presence was a gift to Matthew and Emily.
This is St. John's Church in Egham where the wedding took place.