Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||London on the Budget Plan....
the Budget Plan
seemed like a great idea when my sister suggested a vacation
tour to London. I haven't been anywhere like that before,
so I was looking forward to it. We found cheap tickets on
the Internet for an evening flight.
The plane for the flight was the size of a high-school auditorium. First class had seats that made into beds, free drinks, TV and kits
with personal convenience items. Cheap tickets got us seats in
the back with our knees under our chins. My bottom soon
became so numb from sitting in one place that I felt like I was
sitting on a church pew.
They showed us a movie, fed us, and gave us pillows and
blankets, as if we could sleep setting in a fetal position.
They turned out the lights for a few hours, and then turned them back on, pretended it was
morning and served breakfast. I think I've learned the
meaning of "red-eye special."
London is 6 hours ahead of us in time, so it was morning when we
arrived. The first thing I noticed from the plane was that all
the roofs were red. It wasn't until we were on the ground that I
realized the roofs were clay tile. For some reason the entire
city from the air reminded me of Disneyland.
We landed on a remote airstrip and had to climb down steep
stairs to get off the plane. The terminal was like a huge
shopping mall tiled in yellow. Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, with everyone
talking in different languages and a jungle of immigration officials,
customs officers, escalators, and directions.
The subway was called the Underground. Fortunately for me,
my sister was wise in the ways of travel or I would still be
there wandering around in the airport, figuring out the signs,
which were printed in half dozen languages, and trying to find
my way through the international maze.
There were masses of people and all of them seemed to know where
they were going except us, even the numerous Japanese tourists.
There were many young people -- all in a hurry. They
literally ran down escalators and on moving sidewalks in the
terminal, dragging suitcases, briefcases and umbrellas.
The Underground makes frequent stops where people hop off or on
quickly before the doors slam. There are maps on the wall
to show you where you are and a number of different lines.
An electric sign said "This train for Cockfoster."
I was afraid to ask in case it was something dirty, but found
out later it was just the name of the final stop on the line.
We finally arrived at our stop and jumped off with our
suitcases. "Mind the Gap," said a recorded
message. I thought it was advertising for a store, but
found out later that they were just saying, "Watch your
The hotel looked like a row house with a wrought iron balcony,
which is typical in parts of London I found out later. It reminded
me of the French Quarters in New Orleans. Our room
was tiny with wall-to-wall beds and large, floral print drapes
-- a pattern repeated all over the hotel in numerous upholstered
London was unseasonably hot. We were hot in the plane, hot in
the terminal, hot in the Underground, and had a hot and stuffy
hotel room. They have never heard of air conditioning. The
hotel did have a "lift," which is British for
elevator. We learned to be thankful for small things, such
as not having to drag our luggage up the stairs.
The room had only one 220 electric outlet for the television,
refrigerator, fan, cable box, hair dryer, battery chargers, hot curlers, and
anything else electrical. Before the trip was over, we would be experts
at juggling plugs.
Welcome to London on the budget plan.
Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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