Matt: So, it has been 7 months and we are standing back where we started. Heathrow Terminal 5. Before long we are travelling on the London Underground to Ealing, where we started our lives in London almost 7 years ago. Our trip done. Our time in London done. Ready to start the next big adventure - heading back to Scotland to live the rest of our lives. Doesn't time fly? It seems like moments since we were leaving Chiswick with too much stuff in our backpacks, short hair, no beard, clean and fresh. It has been a long road back to this point but every moment has been worth it.
Leaving New York was a bit emotional, partly because the city is so awesome (if ever I live in another big city, let it be New York) and partly because it means we are going home. Going home is emotional partly because it means friends and family and partly because the trip is over and we are gliding back into reality. The blow was softened only slightly by the news that our seats had been given to someone else, but that meant we got an upgrade. Seventeen flights in 7 months and the first upgrade. It was only to premium economy, but that means more room and a hotter hostess, so mustn't grumble.
As is now par for the course, the journey was easy. Even getting through Heathrow was easy. Although we were a little tired and grumpy getting the Heathrow express, the weather is beautiful (apparently for the first time in a while) and the journey across town has a definite dreamlike quality. Did we ever leave London? Nothing has changed, so I am not sure that we even went anywhere? Nothing seems to have noticed we were gone. I expect London to be somehow changed, but of course it is not.
We are met at the Broadway by Nadia (our hostess for the next couple of nights), and a nice surprise that Sarah and baby Nadia are both with her. We have been following little Nadia's progress from everywhere we have had access to the web, so it is great to see her looking so healthy and full of beans. It is great to see old friends, and getting back to Nadia and Khash's place compounds the feeling that we have never been away, but when Dave and Khash arrive and the old West London gang are all back together it feels good to be back in familiar surroundings.
We have the next couple of nights enjoying the hospitality of Nadia and Khash while making their flat look increasingly untidy (sorry and thank you N&K). It also gives us the chance to catch up with a few good friends, check out the flat and spoon about for a couple of days.
Finally we have to bite the bullet, I go collect a hire car, we pack all our stuff into it (which has magically multiplied to four times original size over the last few days) and set of on the very last leg of our "Long Road Home".