But why is this going up at 11PM your time Happy? Because that is 7 AM Newcastle time. Wrap your head around that one and let’s get started.
Mark’s San Francisco adventure covered 10 days in total and he was clearly as exhausted as I and likely more. I last saw him at the BART station on the way back to the City and then to the airport.
I wouldn’t see him again for 48 hours.
In that time I let my girls crawl all over me, literally and figuratively, all the while packing and preparing for my England trip. When the time came to board the plane emotions were high. The littlest one giggled when I gave her a kiss, the older one asked me to say hi to Mark in England. She seemed to be taking this experiment remarkably well considering the enormity of it and her comparatively small understanding of the world. The Mrs was understandably emotional and supportive, something she does very well. I had already given 10 days to this project rarely seeing the girls awake, if at all, and was about to give 10 more.
Into the airport I saw the car drive away and took a deep breath. This was not going to be easy.
The plane was packed. I had one of the window seats, but they neglected to tell me the foot room is severely restricted thanks to the new video on demand units. I had been to Seat Guru, but it seemed every seat sad that. In exchange for a place to put my feet I had dozens of movies to watch to take my mind off the tingling in my lower extremeties.
The time difference was 8 hours ahead. To help deflect the impact of the time change I knew I would have to get on the plane, eat and get to sleep as soon as possible, then sleep most of the flight. The last time we flew across the Atlantic I fell asleep during the safety video, then not a wink the rest of the flight, I was exhausted 20 hours later.
Imagine my surprise and pride when I finished dinner, put on my headphones and fell asleep. Then again we medics have been known to fall asleep in odd places at odd times.
I was awoken an unknown time later (6 hours I discovered) to the following conversation:
(This was an Air France flight)
“Keep heir on ze oxee-jin and we can moove heir to zee floors.”
Oxygen? Moving someone to the floor? This sounds like a job for…
…the flight crew.
Watch this video from my layover in Paris to find out what happened next:
After a quick commuter flight from Paris, we landed in cloudy, rainy, windy Newcastle, met by a somewhat rested Mark Glencorse.
I was whisked away to mark’s home and welcomed as family. It was nice after a long flight to sit down on a couch surrounded by familiar names and voices. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner (Tea, I was told to call it, the evening meal if you prefer) and the perfect start to what would become an exhausting week.
Even though my family was far away, I had a new one just a few minutes down the road.
I had shared a family story that my late Grandmother was fascinated by the King Arthur legends and that recent research believes Arthur to have been a Roman General defending Hadrian’s Wall from Northern Invasions. I had mentioned this in passing on an episode of EMS Garage and Mark and Fiona had heard me. Fiona scheduled a dinner meeting at the Swan Inn in a town called Heddon-on-the-Wall who’s cathedral was built with stone from the wall.
I was hoping for a brief time during the trip to go out to see the wall my Grandmother spoke of, but didn’t expect much at all. Little did I know that, on the drive back to the hotel, we passed by part of the wall there in the middle of town. Mark made it a nice surprise and swung the car around, parked and said, “There’s your wall, Mate.”
I froze. I had trouble moving for a moment. It was kind of like meeting someone you admired. I climbed out of the car into the cold night air and took a deep breath. I could hear my Grandmother’s voice as if she was right there with me. “He stood here. He garrisoned here. This is history.”
It was a small section, only 6 feet wide, maybe 30 feet long and a few feet tall, in a protected grass area near homes, but it was the wall she spoke of.
I took a few photos and a quick one of me on the wall before heading back to the hotel to rest. As is now a Chronicles of EMS custom, the internet was pay as you go, so uploads were going to be difficult.
Mark dropped me at the hotel and I went straight past the pints in the lobby and straight to bed. The first day on the Rapid Response Car was waiting for us early the next morning and I wanted to be ready for it.
That story, and video of what I look like before coffee, next time.