I am happy to report that we have all arrived safely in England. That "we" would include our luggage, Kath, her friend Melissa, who is joining us for the first part of our trip, and me. I was on British Airways, so flew into Terminal 5. Kath and Melissa were on an Air France flight, so they flew into Terminal 4. I was due in an hour ahead of them, so it was my job to meet them. Heathrow is massive, and I'm quite sure navigating my way across Vancouver would have taken less time. The amazing thing is I actually did find them!
Our next step was to get from Heathrow to Paddington Station, where we needed to catch a train up to the Cotswolds. After comparing prices between taking the Heathrow Express or taking the Metro/Tube into the station, the Tube won by about £15. Here we are with Paddington.
The next step was the one that got us into a bit of trouble. We bought tickets from a very nice man who gave us a group rate. He was also nice because when I asked him what age you needed to be to qualify for a senior's discount he laughed and told us he wasn't blind. What the nice man neglected to tell us was that the tickets he sold us couldn't be used during peak times. It was an incredibly big deal to go back and get a different, possibly not so nice ticket agent to exchange them.
The guy finally got so frustrated trying to exchange the tickets that he ended up just scribbling something on them and telling us we could use them on the next train. Our mistake was thinking the peak time tickets were the same as first class tickets. Here are Kath and Melissa, all comfortably spread out on the leather seats playing a card game.
It was good I snapped that picture when I did, because soon after that the ticket guy came around. We were immediately downgraded. The good news is this downgrade didn't happen until after the beverage and treat trolley had gone by.
We were picked up in Stroud by the owners of Byfield House, the B&B we are staying at in Painswick. It is a lovely place, and was recently rated one of the top B&Bs in England. Here are some early evening views from the bedroom window on the street side of the house.
Here's the view from the garden side.
It makes me feel like I want to take out a cup of tea and a Jane Austen novel and go read under the apple tree.
We were directed to a local pub for dinner. This place is a classic British pub. Or I should say it used to be. The B&B owner told us since the no smoking laws have gone into effect many pubs have been suffering. The owner of this one has tried to keep part of his business as a traditional pub and the other part as a restaurant. The food was amazing, and the apple cider was terrific. I think he'll do just fine. When you get to the pub if you go to the right you are in the eating side of the establishment.
Go left if all you want is a pint.
Before we left for dinner we were invited into the kitchen to visit with the B&B owners. This proved to be the highlight of my day. After hearing so much about them I finally got to meet my very first Aga.
That would be the stove, not the dog!
If there was a way to fit one in my backpack, this would be The Souvenir I would take home from this trip!