Surprise from the United States – upstate New York specifically:
After passing our COVID tests on Saturday, we flew here on Sunday morning…
True, based on where we all are still currently a mask was mandated the entire time in Heathrow airport and on the plane (unless you were eating or drinking), but wearing one does not really bother me. Bag drop was easy. Security took ten seconds. With people still not traveling between London and New York as much as before March 2020 – even the weekend before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday – the flight was also fortunately only about 70 percent full, so in economy we had an empty aisle seat next to us.
Then on arrival at JFK airport, where masks too are required, coming through U.S. immigration was easy and quick, too. We also we witnessed something I had thought I might never see: the U.S. government has apparently scrapped the wasteful Customs form most passengers needed to complete on the plane. The significance of that change cannot be overstated. The U.S. government loves paperwork – especially in triplicate, written by quill, on parchment. LOL!
As for the airplane itself, even that was fine. You may know I do not like the Boeing 777, which unfortunately is now the main long distance plane used by British Airways. (Sadly the far more comfortable 787 Dreamliner apparently had some troubles and is not on the New York route any longer.) I have always felt the 777 is not a great passenger experience – in particular in economy class it has ridiculously small overhead bins and in all cabin classes it is usually just too warm and “airless.” The bins are the bins and they can’t easily be changed, but this time at least the cabin air was comfortable… so maybe someone has gotten the hint. (I will never forget the first time I had been on a 777 about twenty years ago, a flight attendant developed a nose bleed from the stuffy cabin.)
Even Hertz at JFK was no problem. We arrived at our house here in the Catskills (about 3 hours drive north of the airport) late afternoon – to find the house still standing (fortunately) and the heat working (fortunately) – after having not been here for almost a year… due mostly to COVID travel restrictions. (We did find we had a flat tire on the car. Well, leave a car a year in a garage and you will possibly find a flat tire. I filled it.)
All things considered, the journey was one of the easiest we had ever had.
Pleasantly in a bare tree next to our drive as we approached the house was perched a gorgeous owl – looking at us. That is a rare sight – especially afternoons. As our car got closer, s/he finally took off. I have seen an owl up here a couple of times before in the last few years (and they do live pretty long lives and have their “turf,” so s/he could well be the same one), including once not long after my mother died in 2015 and now, this time, we see one as we arrive at the house for the first time since my mother-in-law died October 2. The symbolism of such was hard for me not to reflect upon briefly.
One reason wildlife like that is around is…
…the area being so rural and relatively remote, when it is dark here, wow, is it… DARK! LOL!
We have lots to do here, and changes are likely coming.
And I have that latest novel I still want to finish – and it will likely be finished here. I suppose that is appropriate since it is set partly hereabouts… although about 220 years ago. 😉
That’s all from me for the moment. Have a good day wherever you are. 🙂