Day 8
London (not)

Dorking and Furtzefield



The unfamiliar beeping of the bedside alarm startled my right eyeball open while the rest of my body ignored the noise. All the past days I had awoke without any assistance from that screaming square box. Not this day though, I was far from ready to get out of bed. My hand somehow rose from the dead and blindly fumbled around the nightstand searching for the source of that irritating clamor. "There you are you little nag! Shut Up!" I poked at the four-inch cube with my finger until it managed to find something that squelched its activities. Quiet again I laid there convincing myself that a shower would make this all better and the day in London would be great. I rolled to the edge of the bed and sat up with my feet dangling to the floor. "A shower, that's all I need, a shower".

I began my morning activities with that shower and ending with a big glass of orange drink in front of BBC1 watching the weather report. Record heat, possible power outages in the subways, poor air quality, the newscasters were doing a wonderful job convincing me that it was going to be a great day in London. Sarah came down stairs to fix a cup of tea for herself and Matt and we crossed paths in the dinning room. We exchanged the morning greetings with a questioning look on each of our faces. I knew where mine originated and wondered what hers was caused by. I didn't really want to go to London. Not that I never want to go, just not today. I am too tired to face all that heat. Knowing all the work Matt, Sarah and Simon put into the itinerary of this trip I felt bad that I just didn't want to. After another exchange of quizzical glances I broke down and said "I really don't want to go to London today." Sarah had better not play cards for money because she hasn't a convincing poker face. The look of relief that came over her the moment I said I didn't want to go was obvious. Her reply, "It is up to you Richard, we don't have to go if you don't want to." was punctuated with silent looks of "Please, please, say you don't want to go, say you don't want to go." "Great then we will stay local and have a light day around here." my final declaration. Sarah's finishing facial expression of "Oh yes!!!!" as she fought back the smile said it all.

If she intended it or not Sarah made me feel much better about canceling the London romp, relieving me of my guilt for pooping out. "Call Simon", we both said in unison. Sarah caught him just before he left home and told him to stay put, we will come over to his house later for a day on the farm. I suspect Simon was relieved about the change of plans though he would never admit it. Matt, Sarah and I had a relaxing morning chatting about our exploits and consuming our fluids of choice.

We arrived at Simon's nearing the noon hour where the Trinity gave me a private viewing of their collection, all of which is hidden away in boxes and wardrobes. What a spectacular display they will make when the exhibition building is completed. Turning our attentions to food we began making lunch. "Do you like hotdogs Richard?" Matt asked. "My favorite meal ever!" I replied. "Is the one tin enough then?" Simon queried. "Tin? Hotdogs don't come in a can where I'm from!" my response. In a can they were. Quite novel. Tasted a bit like Vienna Sausages. The meal was very enjoyable in spite of the medical emergency of Simon's cut finger, but that is another story.

With our bellies full and our energy low we decided to go to the living room and watch a Dr Who tape. Picking "The Ribos Operation" we settled in for 102 minutes of viewing fun. It was les then 10 minutes before Simon was sound asleep. Quickly followed by Matt. I nodded in and out of consciousness several times while Sarah appeared to have watched the full story. I believe she has learned how to sleep with her eyes open.

The afternoon was topped off with another session of the remote control boats. Sarah hadn't had a go at them yet and I was keen for another round. We headed to the pond to see how fast we could drain the charge on the batteries speeding around the water. Great fun, its amazing how easy toys can make children out of the stuffiest adults. After several beachings on the muddy banks and many games of chicken our boats fell silent and we went inside to prepare for the evenings dinner out.

Peter and Judith, Simon and Sarah's parents, reconnoitered a place for dinner that met all my requirements. It had air-conditioning! That was my requirement, just a cool place to sit and eat. The Watermill was the pub for the evening and we all arrived ready for a big meal. The food was not as good as the company and we discussed the many events of the past week. The later the time got the sadder I was that it all was coming to an end. One more round of drinks (soft) and it was time for the goodbyes to Peter and Judith. Matt and Sarah took me home to pack my bags.

I spent the next two hours sifting through the pile of souvenirs I had accumulated trying to figure out how to get them all in my luggage. It was difficult to do but in the end they were all snuggled in for the flight back to America.

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