Fly Away Home
Perhaps someone could explain to my eyelids why I am so damn shattered then. Maybe it’s because on our splendid holiday we visited the doctor no fewer than four times. Ear infection x 1, mastitis x 1, which led to the thrushes flying south for the winter x 2, if you’ll excuse such an indelicate reference on a family blog, bad back x 1. Outwardly now we look normal, but inside anti-biotic and pro-biotics are locked in a pitched battle to the death.
Maybe it’s because travelling with a toddler is just plain tiring. They like to run a lot, it turns out. Maybe it’s because I feel I have no right to complain about how tiring my journey was, when from Los Angeles to Sydney I sat next to a very young mother — she can’t have been over twenty — whose six-month-old son refused to breastfeed any more from the age of three weeks. Since then, she has pumped her milk every four hours, for over five months. She also studies full time. She was astonishingly poised and graceful and one of the most impressive women I’ve come across.
Maybe it’s just because it’s near the end of a hard year. A year that was not made any easier, I might add, by the false Rupert Graves sighting by H at the Tom Bradley Terminal of Los Angeles airport. If you’re wondering who Rupert Graves is, you were clearly not a young teenager when Room With A View came out. He played Freddie Honeychurch, the heroine’s younger brother. H claimed, as we passed the doors of the terminal, that the man who had just turned inside, holding the hand of a small child, was ‘you know, the guy who was on that show. He was the bastard on the show with the two lady cops. Someone and Something.’ I decipered this cryptic reference reasonably quickly (he was talking about Scott and Bailey), and squawked ‘Rupert Graves? ARE YOU SAYING YOU JUST SAW RUPERT GRAVES? I’VE HAD A CRUSH ON HIM FOR TWENTY YEARS.’
Then I steered May Blossom’s stroller after the man and proceeded to do the worst-ever tail on a suspect. It took me only a few minutes of following at high speed to get close enough to determine that this man was not Rupert Graves. Even though he was wearing pants (you’ll be pleased to hear), the swimming scene from Room With a View has left its indelible mark on my soul and I knew that was not Rupert Graves’ bottom I was following. I let the man with a much horribler bottom that Rupert Graves go.
That crushing disappointment was compounded minutes later by our visit to the Virgin Lounge. H, by virtue of all the cross continental travel he has done this year in the name of visiting his ill father, became a Gold member (tee-hee) of Virgin’s frequent flyer program halfway through our trip. When we informed out check-in girl of this exciting fact, she looked distinctly unimpressed, wrote out two ‘Gold Invitations’ and smugly told us that at LAX Virgin shares its lounge facilities with Alaskan Airways.
To be fair, it wasn’t a terrible lounge. They had free iced-water (plentiful in Alaska), some cheese squares and a stunning collection of childrens’ video covers. The videos were all kept at the reception, under lock and key. Because VHS copies of Annie and Little Men must be hard to keep hold of. All in all, it wasn’t the glamorous experience Richard Branson would have you believe in his advertising.
We’re home now, which is likewise not as glamorous as you might think. There are lots of half-unpacked suitcases and no food and weird smell in the kitchen. Time, I think, for a nap.
PS. I got a camera on my trip, so the quasi-arty hipstamatic rubbish that passes for photos on this blog may soon cease. But that’s not a guarantee.