For a variety of reasons, too complex to go in to, our flights were booked under two different reservation codes. Although we had adjacent seats on our Toronto-to-Heathrow flights at the time of booking, Air Canada changed the equipment to a smaller plane, which ended up separating our seats. We discovered this late Thursday night as we were checking in online. Calls to the travel agent and Air Canada couldn’t remedy the sitation, particularly as we learned that the flight was 30 seats overbooked.
We couldn’t get it dealt with Friday morning at the airport, so once we boarded we did some negotiating with the people around us and managed to finagle better seats, although it meant that I had a middle-of-three seat. David Suzuki and his extended family were also on the flight and had also been split up. I was originally seated next to his wife. He had been upgraded to business, and his family were just in front of Zouheir. His wife helped me in organizing a trade and by the time we took off, everyone was happy (more or less).
While we were late leaving Toronto, we landed in Heathrow on time and made our way to the London Heathrow Marriott where we spent the night before our trip to Hailsham Saturday morning. At 11 pm, we ordered a light meal in the lobby bar and some featured drink using spiced rum and citrus. We were still on Toronto time, but forced ourselves to sleep so that we’d awaken early and try to get on UK time.
As we were checking out the next morning, we saw an incredibly attractive, multicultural flight crew from Emirates Airlines.
I really liked the women’s uniforms, with the attractive hat and suggestion of a veil.
We took the hotel shuttle back to Heathrow, the Express train to Paddington Station, the tube to Victoria Station, and then a train to Polegate, the closest station to Herstmonceaux Castle. We grabbed a taxi driven by a retired advertising guy who used to work in London. He was very interesting, is used to shuttling students and visitors to the Castle, and talked about the history and geography of the area, He left us his number after dropping us off at the residence.
After a little rest and recharge, we got a call from the conference organizer, Agnes Herzberg, who suggested we meet for dinner with her, her Joyce Zakos who is helping with the organization, and John Bailar who had already arrived. There was a wedding going on in the Castle, so we had a light supper and retired for the eveinng after taking a walk in the gardens.