Daddy Clanger (imc) wrote,
Daddy Clanger

Episode 6: March 20th-22nd

We got up fairly late on Saturday, had breakfast and learned that my cousin and his wife hadn't got in till 3am after a bit of a saga involving a delayed flight crew at Boston. So it was a fair while before they appeared, and we didn't do a great lot until the afternoon, when the two of them took us out for a little drive around the University of Richmond campus and a walk through Carytown - an old shopping area with several interesting shops which we went in. We bought Fluxx and Nanofictionary in one of them.

After we got back from that trip, everyone went out to an Italian restaurant on Broad Street, and even though we didn't go to Vinnie's, we still had a jolly good meal.

Whatever we did on Sunday can't have been terribly exciting as it has escaped my memory. It may have been the day when my aunt took bopeepsheep out to the mall for a bit more shopping, though we didn't have that much cash left by that point. We spent some time washing clothes and packing things up for our journey home. My Aunt and Uncle cooked a very decent roast dinner for us in the evening, though my cousin annoyed his dad with some talk about politics. Then seemingly everyone except my aunt went to bed.

Owing to a noisy smallclanger we slept in again on Monday morning, which meant that everyone had gone to work by the time we got up. All except Alex's wife, that is, who appeared quite late on and then disappeared again into the shower. So we pretty much had to leave without saying goodbye. We left ourselves about four hours to meander up to Dulles, but we didn't need that long. We stopped at a random Subway for lunch, and again at a random strip-mall car park to feed and change the baby, and returned the car about an hour early.

After a brief pause to sort ourselves out, we queued up at the check-in desk, where smallclanger started being noisy and an attendant let us bypass most of the queue. However, when we got to the desk it took them 15 minutes to sort his seat out (apparently they didn't at first believe us that he had a seat, then when they thought to check the passenger list they found him on a completely different row - that will be because of the faff we had in getting his ticket, even though they told me they were reallocating the seats so we would be together), so I had to pick him up and carry him, at which point he became amused at some of the other passengers including a baby girl a bit smaller than him (who had exactly the same type of car seat).

We got to the gate quite early for the flight and had to wait a fair while until they started boarding. This meant that as soon as they announced the pre-boarding for people travelling with small children, we were right there and ready to get on. However, this also meant that we were the first people to pass the line of security guards on the way into the plane, and so we had to stop while all our bags and our persons were searched for potentially offensive weapons. They didn't find any, of course (my bottle-opener having been confiscated during the last outing), but the plane was half-full by the time we finally got on board. Moreover, the check-in desk hadn't thought to pass on our request for an infant seat, so we had to call a flight attendant in order to get one put in.

The courtesy pack we were given on the return flight was half the size of the previous one, which is probably more convenient for future use as a wash-bag but it lacked socks, tissue and writing pad and so had very little left in it. The entertainment system didn't suffer the teething troubles of the previous occasion, and I watched Calendar Girls (which I thought fairly entertaining and amusing). It did however, have the deficiencies I noted before - in addition to which, I noted that the `interactive map' left a lot to be desired. The most notable thing wrong was that when the system was switched on not far out of Washington DC it said that there were 55 minutes of flight time left. This is something I noticed on the outward trip too - the number of hours is just missing from the display. In comparison with the `skymap' feature I've seen on other flights, this one looks better because you can zoom in on various parts of the map; however, the map always shows the position of the plane at the time when you entered the interactive system - so to find out where you are now you have to go back to the default view and then zoom in all over again. The default view is a rotating selection of views a bit like `skymap' but it doesn't show you as much detail (you have to zoom in for that) and it doesn't draw in the flight path.

After we had had our in-flight meal, we gave smallclanger his (we had to supply our own food, though). He ate pretty well, even though he had already eaten a fair chunk during the wait at the airport. This may have been one of the reasons why he behaved very well and was able to go to sleep for about three hours. (In fact, once we landed, he had a time of being awake while we walked around and then once we got in the car he went back to sleep for another few hours - it was the best night's sleep he had had all holiday.) I got about an hour of sleep on the plane, but bopeepsheep didn't really get any. When they brought our breakfast round about 90 minutes before arrival, they gave us three jars of baby food and a little bottle of fruit juice, which we thought was a little odd given that they hadn't bothered to give the baby anything at dinner time. Anyway, we packed it all to take it home, because he was asleep.

And so, finally, we arrived. Getting through passport control wasn't too hard, though we seemed to arrive at the same time as a dozen other flights so it was very crowded. We again had to pick the stroller and car seat up at the baggage carousel (where we negotiated with the other family to make sure we got the right one) and then waited outside for bopeepsheep's Dad to take us back to Oxford.


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