After hungrily learning about the Berlin Wall on our two hour layover in Berlin, we boarded a plane for England and were so excited to be with the Shumways. The moment we hit British soil, we were in for a wild adventure!
After standing behind about a thousand people in the immigration line that snaked forward about the pace of a very sick turtle, we saw, to our delight, a tall couple in the front of the line who looked familiar. Rick’s brother Chris and wife Hedy! We knew that they were coming for a conference at Oxford and that we were going to spend time with them on Monday but we had no idea when they would arrive. We filled the bill for the” Ugly Americans” as we shouted their names across the crowd and it was fun to wave “across a crowded room”.
Forty five minutes later,we finally met up with Saydi who had gone to the wrong terminal because they had changed which airline we were coming on and didn’t tell us until we got to the airport. She was there with all four kids and a big smile, even though the battery in their “new” car had died and she and Hazel and Charlie (7 and 6) had helped her push the car into a parking spot and pull on the brake. Jeff, whom we thought would be staying with the kids at home, was at a week-long conference in Boston.
Luckily by the time we got to the car, for some unknown reason, it started and we wended our merry way back on the M25 (the giant freeway circling London) when the car started acting up again. Lights started flashing and it jolted and started losing power. We slipped off the road and luckily ended up at a service station before it actually died. Dead.
Saydi called her recovery service (for the third time in the month since they got the car) and we walked through a beautiful little village to a lovely old Indian Restaurant where we gorged on that fabulous British/Indian food and waited for the tow truck.. Cute Tim, the tow truck driver happily helped us load all the kids and the car into his giant tow truck and we were off! In our hurry not to keep him waiting I only got the picture of us in the tow truck and not the car loaded on the back. Darn. You’ll get the idea!
The following picture was taken through a dirty window and zoomed in from the back seat of the tow truck but I want to remember this nice little restaurant that rescued us from some pretty hungry kids. Saydi left after two bites to lead the tow truck driver to the car and finally got some dinner when we got home about 11 p.m.
I was in the back with the kids and Dad and Saydi directed the driver toward where we were to drop the car over by the Shumway’s house for our very long drive home. (Dad taking the picture of that funny site!)
After we got the kids to bed and something for Saydi to eat, Jeff arrived from his long day on a plane and we filled each other in on details. He had a terrible sore thoat and swollen gland and wasn’t feeling well anyway so the car was just one more complication! They are ready to ask for a refund on the car. Saydi was going through all the “wouda, coulda, shouda” options when they squashed us into a loaner car so we could get to church in the morning. Hazel piped up from the back seat and said, “Mom, you’re over thinking this!” Ah, so Hazel/Jeff-esque! She was right of course. It is what it is, but this has been such a quandary for them. She also kept reminding us that “it’s all part of the adventure". Ah so Hazel/Saydi-esque.
The next morning we proceeded to have a wonderful time at their ward. Beautiful church with more than half black members and a black bishop. What a joy to see that after being there all those years ago when the change in policy had been announced. I stopped the young man from Nigeria playing the organ so beautifully afterward to ask him how he learned to play the organ. He said that he taught himself to play the piano on his mission and then just converted to the organ when he got home. So fun to meet so many lovely people from all over the world in a ward that had 24 baptisms last year. Amazing!
That after noon we headed for Cambridge where we had another grand adventure which will be posted next!