Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Midnight Train To Georgia

I couldn't resist using this as a title for my first post about our trip to the Deep South , I've always loved this song:) We must start at the beginning though which is where the train comes in, as Eric Morecambe would have said 'I'm using all the right words but not necessarily in the right order' :):) And for those of you who don't know this fantastic song here it is. Turn up the volume and sing along!

My daughter and I travelled down to London by train on the Saturday before our Sunday morning flight. Juliette had suggested that instead of spending the evening sitting about in a hotel we might as well take in a West End show so we'd booked tickets to see 'Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense' at the Duke of York's theatre. It was a brilliant choice! We both really enjoyed it and it was genuinely funny. There were only three actors in it - Stephen Mangan, Matthew Macfaddyen and Mark Hadfield. Since there are several important female characters in the Jeeves and Wooster stories we'd wondered how the play was going to be presented without any actresses in the cast. It soon became clear, Stephen Mangan played just Bertie Wooster the whole way through but the other two played all the other characters including the women between the two of them. Mark Hadfield was absolutely brilliant as Aunt Dahlia. It was a great start to our holiday.

The next bit proved to be quite an adventure! We had an excellent flight but it landed half an hour late in Washington DC. We had a tight connection so after getting through immigration and collecting our cases we raced down to the Delta check in. Once the luggage was through and we had our boarding passes we dashed off to the gate to be caught up eventually by the check-in clerk waving my passport which in all the excitement I'd left behind! All our efforts were to no avail however and when we got there the gate had been closed so we, along with a great many other people from our transatlantic flight, joined a long queue to try and get on another flight. After about 15 minutes a Delta employee came up and beckoned us out of the queue and took us to a different desk where three charming gentlemen worked really hard to get us on the next flight to Savannah at 10pm - our original flight was 5pm. It looked as if there was only one seat available and as we wanted to stay together we thanked them for their efforts and resigned ourselves to spending the night in a hotel and travelling the next day. As we plodded wearily away a sudden shout recalled us - there had just been a cancellation and they had two seats for us after all!! I think our obvious delight must have rewarded them for all the trouble they went to:) So eventually we made it to Savannah arriving at 1am - this accounts for both midnight and Georgia in the title:) Our luggage of course had gone on the previous flight and was now locked away in storeroom. Happily I had been sitting next to and chatting to an Englishman who had been on the same transatlantic flight as us and who had also not travelled on the same flight as his luggage. He worked for Gulf Oil and made this trip regularly so he took us under his wing and went off to find someone from Delta to unlock the storeroom while we wondered how we were going to get to the airport hotel where we were spending the night before travelling into Savannah the next day. There was a distinct lack of taxis and efforts to contact the hotel and ask for the shuttle bus proved fruitless! However our friend had met up with an American colleague who was collecting a rental car and it turned out that both of them were staying at the Embassy Suites as we were. Would we like a lift he enquired? 'Yes please' I said before Juliette had chance to say anything. She was horrified that I'd agreed to get into a car with two complete strangers but by this stage we'd been up for 24 hours and all I wanted was to get to the hotel and sleep. We arrived safely and fell gratefully into our beds. Next morning after an extremely good breakfast we got a taxi into Savannah to The Marshall House where we were staying for the next few nights.

After unpacking we set off to explore a little, Savannah is a charming city built around 23 public squares and filled with trees adorned with the iconic Spanish Moss. Above is Wright Square named for James Wright the last Royal Governor of Georgia. In the centre of the square stands the elegant Gordon Monument which commemorates William W Gordon who built the Central of Georgia Railroad which was once the longest single company railway in the world. It provided a rail link from Chattanooga in Tennessee to the seaports on the Atlantic coast - another great song title here - Glenn Miller's Chattanooga Choo Choo. The South has provided inspiration for so many great songs. Think this is long enough for a first post - next time more photos less chat!


George said...

Sorry for all of your early travails, Rowan, but it's good to know that you finally found rest and refuge in Savannah, a good place to begin your tour of the South. I look forward to learning more of your trip.

WOL said...

Gosh! Traveling for 24 hours straight! I hope the rest of your trip went more smoothly.

Patricia said...

Ooh I can't wait to hear more Rowan. Sounds as though it was a wonderful trip. Long old journey but I bet it was all worth it in the end. xx

simplyvintage said...

That sounds like a journey and a half, what an adventure! I am looking forward to reading more about your trip, it sounds fantastic. xxx

Mac n' Janet said...

Good to hear about your trip, it has certainly turned colder since you were here, down in the 20's last night and only in the 40's today. Lots of sunshine, but we've had lots of rain too.

Morning's Minion said...

I've never been on a transatlantic flight, but your description of delays, impounded luggage and missed connections have a very familiar ring.
I'll be waiting for more posts on these places that at least in a larger sense are familiar.

Nella Miller said...

Dear Rowan, it was lovely to see your comment ! It is a dream come true for me, after 35 years of living in our home to see this kitchen.... I feel truly blessed and hope to enjoy it for many years...I loved reading about your trip to Savannah....isn't it a beautiful city, quaint and full of Southern charm....I visited it last March for the first time, visiting family, who are spending the winters in South Carolina...I loved it! Hope to return again this year...I am hoping to return to blogging, now that life is settling down a bit....your grandchildren look are so lucky!! N.xo

Bovey Belle said...

Ye Gods - what a start to the holiday. I bet you were glad you weren't travelling alone!

Savannah sounds so lovely, and I can't wait to hear more about your holiday.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

You've just reminded me why I stopped flying off to distant places! Funny how American places sound so good in songs - in a way that Romford or Walsall simply couldn't.

Mary said...

Well, travel does have its drawbacks when things don't run perfectly.............but the memories of how we get out of sticky situations, such missed flights and relying on kindly strangers, make great stories don't they!

So glad the rocky start to your vacation worked out OK Rowan - looking forward to more stories of your stay here in the south. The weather right now is warm but a big chill is on the way!

Hugs - Mary

Diane said...

Just catching up - you are having a fantastic adventure!! Can't wait to hear what you are getting up to. xxxxx

Pondside said...

How nice it is to see you back - lovely photo of you with your grandchildren in the previous post. Savannah is one of my favourite cities - I'll be looking for more on your trip.