You may wonder what kind of vacation a romance author takes…the main difference from your vacation and mine is that I’m still constantly thinking of a plot for the next great American romance!
I just returned from a tour of the United Kingdom…England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Wales. I’m not a historical writer, just reader, so I think about how I can turn this tranquil kingdom into a suspenseful arena.
Yes, I saw beautiful castles, cathedrals, landscape, and ate English food. I’m sure you’ve all seen documentaries and magazines depicting all of the above, so I’m going to relate a few personal adventures.
After an eventful flight from O’Hare to Heathrow, yes I got sick on the plane probably from too many “relaxers”, my husband and I exited the spacecraft. The atmosphere of Heathrow was, to say the least, a bit spooky. The two story walls were glass and stark. We were directed through a series of turns, stairs, and escalators with only the light from fluorescents.
Not too bad until I noticed not a single shop or kiosk, only the people from arriving planes, and police everywhere. It was quiet. The bathrooms had one toilet. England’s terrorist alert had raised a level the day before.
Led to a long line of travelers, almost two hours later we handed our travel documents, passport and card explaining who we were and our reason for arriving, to one of a dozen officers.
I can’t help but add a little controversy. My card read…JOB: Govt. I do work for the govt. (USA), but I didn’t expand. The officer looked me up and down-no I looked a wreck at this hour. He rummaged through my carry-on, looked me up and down again, then said, “You work for the government?”
I said, “Yes.” Could I be more obtuse, or what? I felt the thrill of a challenge brewing already. With the bobbies of England! I was messing with the police! My heart thumped and thudded as I waited for his dark eyes and thin lips to respond. I have a former Marine at my side and wasn’t afraid to use him.
It ended well as he chuckled, stamped my card, and moved the long line forward. I think I was a bit relieved.
Now I am in London! Our hotel was two blocks from the Thames and we had legs ready to go with no sleep for twenty-seven hours.
One more story about the infamously bad English food…
That first day our stomachs drove us to find a café for breakfast. We eagerly tried an “English breakfast.” I thought I over reacted, but my husband didn’t like it either. Imagine, a poached egg, tiny hash brown (not too bad yet), a mushy tasteless sausage, and flavorless baked beans. Don’t forget that a cup of coffee comes in halfsies and no refills. Tea is abundant, but I couldn’t solely rely on it.
Sorry, but I won’t be gaining weight in England.
So much more to tell…Our hostess, Alexis, will need to give me more time to relate the interesting parts of the tripJ
Always travel with a mission and get the most out of it!