Car reservation

Bain, Boxing Day – The Ukiah Daily Journal

When she was 80 and I was 25, my grandmother invited me to Paris and London with her. Like most trips, the trip we took together in 1995 was both horrific and amazing, creating my favorite memories of her. But even better than I remember are the journals we both kept:

Thursday, December 21, 1995

Grandma’s Diary Entry

Foned for car, not available. Travel agency called, responsible for Hertz, reservation made. It’s raining, at the tube, at Heathrow. I have a Fiat Punto. I booked for the B&B, I arrived at 2.15pm at the roundabouts. Nice place, booked for the 26th. We went to the pub for dinner.

My memories

I don’t have a journal entry for this day, but I do remember this drive from the airport as very frustrating, with driving on the left side of the road and trying to navigate roundabouts . I was very keen that the signs had the names of the town you were heading towards, but they only had the names of the roads, which was unnecessary to me.

Friday 22 December 1995

Grandma’s Diary Entry

Justine woke up SICK. In Oxford at 9 a.m., I arrived at 10 a.m. I walked around, beautiful gardens. There was coffee and pie. At Sandra, Justine found the way. Called from Texaco station, “Weak bridge.” »Lots of cars, day off. I ate salmon for dinner, watched “Red Dwarf”.

My memories

I woke up with a cold and didn’t want to get out of bed. I remember looking out the window sadly and my grandmother was annoyed. “I hope you’re not too sick to drive. So I got up and led us.

The day has improved a lot, however, because when we were trying to find her friend Sandra’s house, I stopped at a gas station to call her and told her we were at “Weak Bridge”. ” Where are you ? She said, sounding very confused. Then I burst out laughing. “Grandma, that’s not the name of the bridge. It’s just telling us it’s a “weak bridge!”

We both laughed so hard the gas station clerk thought we were crazy. This is my second favorite memory of her. My favorite later that day was at Sandra’s, where she became a giggling woman, a woman with red cheeks and shining eyes, a woman who patted my leg like my mother had.

Outside Windsor Castle closed. (Photo provided)

Sunday 24 December 1995

Grandma’s Diary Entry

I had gasoline for the first time, 9.66 liters. At the hardware store, I have a padlock.

In Bath at 11 am I walked to the Roman Bath Museum, got some souvenirs etc. Tea in the pump room, a plate, tea and an oil lamp. Justine has a cup, some plates, a key ring.

Resumed at 4.30am, foggy, dangerous, 30mph. TV: Secret Garden, Mrs. Doubtfire.

My diary entry

It’s Christmas Eve. We’re just above the bar, I hear everyone laughing and partying, Grandma snoring. I deserve a hell of a medal for my riding today. We returned home 30 miles from Bath in a haze of pea soup. First I had to find the parking lot, then find my way back to Stroud, then drive 25 cars through the hills when you couldn’t see your hand in front of you. Anguishing. Every time cars came the other way, the road disappeared. It was hell.

Then I had to find out where our hotel was, with no maps or signs to help, just from memory, and when we came back Grandma said, “You are a wonder.”

Monday, December 25, 1995

Grandma’s Diary Entry

9ish breakfast, walk to the park. Stratford.

The car windows were all frosted, the Houston man in the parking lot had a scraper; he is here to visit his mother. He scratched the windows, we drove to Bristol and back. Stopped in a pub, no room.

At the hotel, big dinner, two glasses of wine.

Television, La Bohème.

My memories

I remember we had nowhere to eat that day as it was Christmas and we hadn’t made a reservation but the hotel kindly rushed us and we had a really nice dinner with wine sparkling wine and crackers to pull. I remember feeling so happy and relieved, but I’m sure it was way more than my grandma wanted to spend on a meal!

Tuesday, December 26, 1995

Grandma’s Diary Entry

Up to 8, repackaged. I still had frost. I left at 10 in the morning, got gas and food in the country, a nice hostel.

Took M4 to Windsor Castle, closed for Boxing Day. Cold, ate soup, fish and chips. At B&B, Justine found OK.

Watched TV, cold then too hot. I slept well, 3-4 hours in all.

My memories

Unfortunately, we had a hard time finding food the next day too, as we had no idea that Boxing Day Boxing Day was also a public holiday in Britain, and that morning we only had than eating a box of granny cookies bought at a grocery store earlier in the week.

But struggles on travel create the best stories and the most satisfying feelings afterward when you overcome them. I am so grateful for this trip with my grandma, the good times and the bad.

Although we have had an often strained relationship, she was by far the most consistent and supportive adult presence in my life after my parents left, one by death and the other by choice. She did not offer warmth or unconditional love, but provided crucial financial support and much needed stability. Perhaps most important of all, she was a remarkable role model of a woman full of courage, independence and endless curiosity for all people and places in the world.

Our journey started in Paris.