London – the perils of Heathrow.

London calling! We arrived in London on a Friday morning, and the weather has so far been pretty kind. Love the feel of the place and staying so close to the centre of town gives us such a buzz.

The flight from Newark to London Heathrow was a little stressful. We spent an 90 minutes stuck on the tarmac waiting for a ‘maintenance issue’ to be rectified before we could take off. In this time, Mitch got a little stress out and started to scream just before we taxied to the runway. Little guy was not happy and kept on going for another 30 minutes. He finally settled and went to sleep, but not before everyone around us started getting a bit angry – oh well that was their issue.

Flight time was just a bit less than six hours (after expecting to be in the air for more than seven hours) and we arrived at London Heathrow a little after 7.30 Friday morning. And here is where the fun began…..

We arrived in Terminal 4 expecting to have to wait around a bit for Immigration processing – maybe an hour or so. Well we were going to be disappointed. After getting to the main hall for processing, we were directed to the line for non-EU arrivals, and then spent 10 minutes walking to the end of the line. Six or seven planes had arrived at the same time, including two from India, so we were told processing time was going to be around THREE TO FOUR HOURS! Seriously, THREE TO FOUR HOURS! We thought it was a joke but it was looking like we were going to be stuck there for most of the morning.

After waiting in the queue for 30 minutes, and discussing some observations about the situation with other arrivals in the line, our little party was approached by airport staff to fast-track our processing. But on one condition – either the mother and child OR father and child could be processed quicker, but not all three. I said to J to grab Mitch and go up the front and I would wait the 3-4 hours. Made no sense as they would need to wait until I came out, but it was better to get MItch settled after the flight.

J and Mitch then went to the front and I hung around with my new queue-buddies. But then J returned and said we could all be processed together! So happy to be out of the line, so we disappeared in a flash to the front of the line. Processed and out of the airport in and hour and 15 minutes.

Big tip here – avoid Terminal 4 at Heathrow.

My sister Ilona was waiting in the arrivals hall and it was great to see a familiar face. A mini-cab was also waiting to whisk us all back to her apartment in Soho. What a great spot to live in. She lives a one minute walk from Oxford Street, giving us a perfect spot to base ourselves for our London sojourns.

We went to Regent Park on Friday afternoon to stretch our legs and have a kick of the footy with Mitch. We also had a bit of a run at the children’s playground there, where Mitch was bossed around by a couple of schoolgirls, and Aunt Ilona jumped in to tell them to leave him alone on the equipment – nice play there sis!

J and Mitch seem to have caught the head cold I had in New York, so Saturday was a couch day for J to get some rest, giving Ilona and I some time to duck out and get some provisions from the shops. Mitch fell asleep in the stroller so he missed out on all the colour of the streets on a Saturday. The day ended with dinner in front of the TV as we want to get a good start on Sunday.

Plenty more to do while we are here so we will update when we can. It is 5am right now and I can’t seem to find the camera in the dark, so I can’t post any pictures. Will try later on in the day when Mitch is asleep and I can pry away the iPad from his little hands.

GT, J and Mitch.