Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Bag Goes to Brighton

Well, Dave and I survived our trans-Atlantic adventure and are now ensconced in my stepmother’s guesthouse outside Tampa. I’m writing this at 4:09 a.m., because of course to me, it’s 9:09 a.m. and way past when I would normally be waking up. The photo is a cross-stitch (I think?) that my stepmother made of one of Henri Matisse's goldfish paintings, hanging in the bathroom of the guesthouse. I haven’t had a chance to take a picture of anything else yet.

I’m just happy we got here, after our adventures yesterday morning! I thought our big obstacle would be getting the dog launched — but as it turned out, that was no problem at all. Simone’s partner showed up bright and early and collected Olga, who went uncomplainingly. Dave and I finished packing and set out ourselves around 8:45 a.m. Our flight wasn’t until 12:30, but we figured it would take an hour to get to Gatwick, and why not build in a little extra time?

We are so lucky we did, because things went awry at the airport.

Dave and I got off the train from London and were walking into the terminal when Dave suddenly realized he’d left his shoulder bag — containing his school laptop — on the train. He ran back but it was already gone, headed for Brighton.

An old photo of the house where we're staying
We went to an information desk where an attendant called ahead, and a half-hour later, after the train had arrived in Brighton and been perfunctorily searched, word came that Dave’s bag could not be found. Fortunately that same train was due to turn right around and come back to London via Gatwick, so we waited some more and while I stood in the terminal with our luggage, Dave met it on the platform, determined to search it himself.

Humming the theme music from “Mission: Impossible,” Dave popped in and out of the train carriages during the two minutes it was at the airport station, and just as the doors were about to close, he saw his bag through a window, sitting on an overhead shelf. He leaped in, grabbed it and leaped out again. Job done!

Of course, this whole adventure killed more than an hour of time, and we weren’t even checked in for the flight. But fortunately we flew through check-in and security and we even wound up waiting (briefly) at the gate before boarding, so we didn’t even cut it that close.

And this, people, is why you always give yourself lots of extra time when you go to the airport!

The rest of the flight went smoothly. I read three New Yorkers and a YA novel called “Incident at Hawk’s Hill,” about a boy on the Canadian prairie who befriends a badger in 1870. It was a Newbery medal finalist when it was published back in the early ‘70s, and it was good, but parts of it seemed pretty unlikely and of course (spoiler alert) it doesn’t end well for the badger. Bet you couldn’t see that coming!

I’m not sure what we’ll get up to today, but it needs to involve some photography.


  1. Truly heart-stopping - my favourite nightmare is losing something while travelling! Enjoy your holidays with the family.

  2. Dave's bag fiasco and recovery is nothing short of miraculous.
    When I know I'll be traveling, I save up my New Yorkers , too. Tons of reading in a small container.
    Glad you'll be enjoying warmer weather for a while - we plant to leave for Venice on the 1st.

  3. Wow! How lucky it wasn't taken by someone else, how lucky the train was coming right back, how lucky Dave was able to locate it before the train pulled out -- and how prudent you both were to go early. My heart rate went up just reading about it.

    That is an ambitious needlework project! Someone did a fine job.

  4. I am pleased to learn that you made it safely to Florida. What a silly billy Dave is! Leaving his shoulder bag on the train! What a feeling of relief there must have been when he retrieved it. Looking forward to seeing more quirky pictures of Florida but also - how about some portraits of your family - if they are agreeable?

  5. A cross stitch of Matisse?
    That's awesome!
    IF you wouldn't mind, may I request a close-up of the stitching?
    (Purely optional of course, I understand if you don't want to post such a thing.)

    I also have nightmares about traveling--usually about being too late--brilliant of you to factor in the unexpected---which happened! Glad it turned out well.

  6. Oh man. I love that house so much! What a pleasant place to find oneself on a visit!
    And as Marty said- Dave's recovery of the bag was miraculous! Whoo!
    I believe that may be needlepoint. Take a little close-up. Whatever, it is beautiful.
    All right. Relax now. Have fun.
    You made it.

  7. That is an amazing bit of needlework - I can't even imagine the work that went into it. Fabulous! (I'm on the "wanna close-up" team)

    The adventure of Dave's bag is like my worst nightmare and a Christmas miracle all rolled up into one. Whew!

  8. Have a good time and give June my regards.

  9. That was quite an adventure for you and Dave. So glad he found his laptop. Oy, what a beginning! Have a grand time.

  10. Lucky Dave. Lucky someone didn't walk off with it. So now whenever you two take a train you'll be asking Dave if he's got everything? Well, welcome back to the states. I guess. Not that great a place to be these days.

  11. You are so lucky. That is one of my worst nightmares. The rest of your trip will go smoothly. The worst part has already happened.

  12. holy cow, that was close, YAY Dave! I hope your Christmas is jolly and bright and that Santa is good to you. Sox and salmon...and maybe a chocolate something!

  13. All I could see in my mind's eye after reading this was Dave doing his James Bond act. Great work, Dave!

  14. Losing anything is a bummer and while your trying to catch a flight is more than stressful.

  15. Yes please, we would love a close up of that Matisse. Someone did a great job creating that.

  16. That story gave me a heart attack -- a sympathetic one! I'm so glad that Dave got his back back and that you're safely across the wide blue sea and here! Have a wonderful stay.

  17. Bag drama like that you can do without. Was Dave humming the theme from Mission Accomplished when he stepped off the train, bag in hand?
    And the old photo of the house -beautiful - a postcard from times past.

  18. Welcome stateside! Nice to think of you in the same time zone. Glad Dave got his bag back. I think I would have been so panicked I could not have hummed any tune at all for lack of breathing.

  19. Lucky for you that you got out of Gatwick before the drone scare!