A Slice of Life
Day 15 – Wednesday July 15th
Did I mention that on Day 2 of this trip (that day that almost did me in) that I had scrapped both passenger side doors of my rental car when I got too close to a metal entry post at a carpark? Well I did, and not even four hours after renting the car. What a bummer! And now I was looking for an auto repair shop to get a damage estimate for Budget and my insurance company. The hotel clerk looked up the name and phone number of a local shop for me. I called (on a pay phone) and asked the owner if he could review the damage and give me a written estimate. He said he could, and gave me his SatNav address. He said his shop was only about 15 minutes from the Europa hotel.
I gave Greta the SatNav address and headed for his shop. Well, Greta took me to a farm house on a narrow country lane with no repair shop in sight. I put the address in again, and she took me back to the same farmhouse. While I was sitting there trying to decide what to do next, a lady came walking down the lane, and I asked her for directions. She pointed me to the end of the lane, and sure enough there was the shop (about a mile further down the lane). But, it was all locked up! Stress Gummy time.
I had assumed the owner was in his shop when I had talked to him, but no, he was on his mobile phone! Now what was I going to do? Just then I spied a call button on the wall next to the shop. I pressed it and a woman answered and told me I had buzzed the private house behind the shop. Ops! I told her I was there to see the owner of the repair shop and she said, “Oh, that’s George.” I told her my problem (she was very nice) and asked her if she would mind calling George for me. She did, and George said he could be at the shop in 15 minutes. He came and gave me a written estimate of the repair work. Then I realized I didn’t have the SatNav for the Budget office (only the phone number). I ask George if he would call them for their SatNav number. He was kind enough to do that, and I was on my way to turn in my rental car.
Greta took me to the Budget office at the Arora Hotel, there in Crawley, with no problems. The Budget agent was very nice about the damage to the car. I gave him my insurance paper work/estimate, and he wrote up an incident report for Budget. What a joy it is to work with people like that. They just seem to smooth out all the rough edges of any situation. He even gave me a ride to the Crawley train station.
At the train station I bought my ticket to the London-Gatwick Airport and was there (on a Virgin train) at 11:00 to check-in with Virgin Atlantic Airlines for my flight to Orlando, leaving at 1:00 pm.
After a 45 minute departure delay at Gatwick (while they loaded some rich collector’s vintage Mercedes automobile onto our plane) we finally took off. Again I enjoyed setting in the upper deck of the Boeing 747-400 (Ruby Tuesday) during the flight back to the U.S. The plane was fuller on the flight back than the flight over and I was not able to recline my seat enough, so I didn’t get much sleep.
I was glad I had insisted on an upper deck seat since there was less traffic and it was much quieter. Again, I was surprised at how great the beverage and food service on the 9-hour flight was (full course meal and snack).
When we arrived in Orlando I didn’t notice, after going thru Customs, our bags were delivered to the “B” side of the airport. DiVoran was waiting for me at the “A” side Arrival pickup area, and it took a while for us to find each other. Thank goodness for cell phones.
By then it was almost 8:30 pm and we decided not to go out for dinner as planned, but to go straight home where DiVoran whipped up a delicious ham, cheese and mushroom omelet for us both. Yummm!
I was very happy to get home, see my lovely wife, sleep in my own bed, and not have to live out of a suitcase for a while. Having to lug that suitcase up and down all those stairs wasn’t any good for my shoulder and knees either!