It was a lovely three hour flight and an hour change in time zones. Landing in Gatwick we made our way to the Avis/Budget rental car center. There as we were standing in line, we saw Jackie. She was dealing with another customer and it was not going well. She was abrupt and obviously being pushed to the ends of her wit. I mustered my best package of charm and approached her cautiously. With a sign and in a very, very deep masculine voice, she asked, "and what can I do for you." I handed her my reservation and she slammed it down on the desk and quickly started typing. She never once looked up at me. When she found the reservation she turned and said, "so, what are we doing here. Hmmm?" At this moment I had my chance. In my most subdued voice (a real challenge for me) I said, "before we get started, I just have to tell you how much I LOVE your voice." She smiled. "I bet you get a lot of attention on the phone." She smiled. "The reason I like it so much is that my wife has one just like you. She gets called "sir" all the time." And with that her face brightened and she laughed, "yep, I often tell my husband that I could take him to the cleaners by simply calling his bank and transferring all of his quid into a different account." We laughed, I shared a story or two about me pretending to be Bobbie in called banks and credit card companies." By this time she was calling me "darling" and we were discussing cooking. "With a name like Lucido I bet you can make a mad pasta sauce!"
By the end of our enjagement I had gotten a free upgrade to a much larger, and much needed automobile, an inside break on the insurance package...she gave me the corporate rate, and had made a new friend. This is Jackie.
We packed the bags into the back of "Quasimodo," our brand new Nissan Quashqai with only 17001 miles. We still needed a bit of oil to back those sardines into the boot. Sitting behind the wheel I suddenly remembered our dear Janie in Australia..."driver in the middle." I haven't driven a right-had drive since then. And to boot, it all starts in London traffic on the thruway.
After two hours of trying to keep up with everyone else at 70mph...yes, they use miles in the UK, and dodging road construction we reached Stonehenge. WOW! A beautiful visitor center and a very nice intro exhibit was following by a shuttle out to the fields and the marvel of this 5,000 year old masterpiece. The crowds were huge and we dodged hundreds of others vising for a great shot or two. So very cool to finally be here after so many visits to the UK. The visitor center was outstanding, the Druid cottages were cool, and none of us could budge the stone.
We drove another half hour to the village of Bromham where we found our lovely Airbnb with little drouble. Senior Geeps is doing his job nicely. The cottage dates back to the 1400s and was quite charming, the hostess very accommodating, and beds super comfy.