Monday, October 8, 2007

Two giants

Yesterday Dave, Chef, Natalie and I boarded our return flight home from Heathrow on a brand new Air Canada 777 jumbo jet. We had arrived in London from Paris the morning before so that I could give Natalie and Chef a very quick tour of the highlights of London before crossing the big pond. As always, London was spectacular, although extremely expensive and crowded. We opted to take a tour on one of the double decker buses, which turned out to be a good decision as the main streets were just packed with people from every part of the world. I have often heard Canadians complain about Air Canada, saying what a terrible experience they've had and how they'll never fly with them again. I have also heard people complain about Heathrow, but I have to say, I've had generally very good experiences with both Air Canada and Heathrow, and this trip was no exception. The new plane was great - very spacious and modern, and the service was superb. I still can't get over the fact that these huge machines can actually get off the ground, and then gently drop down in just the right spot; truly amazing. Heathrow, for all the masses of people who fly through there every day, was very efficient, and I always feel that the security is above and beyond any other airport, so, I have no complaints. Our flight arrived 1/2 an hour early due to favourable headwinds, and the drive home was quick and easy. I noticed that the new over 50 km. law has come into effect - you can lose your car and your licence. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Generally the traffic on the 401 moves between 130 and 140 km/hr. with a few cars zipping past even at those speeds. All in all, I would say our trip was a success. It was great to spend some extended time with 3 key members of my executive team, and I think we all found this trip to be educational. However, I think I may be getting too old and too set in my ways to act as host and tour guide - maybe I'll find someone else to play this role in the future. I've heard good things about Butterfield and Robinson. As always, it was great to be home. Family gathered for a turkey dinner last night at John and Nancy's. Massie really missed me - he gave me a very enthusiastic welcome. No matter where I travel to, I always feel pride when I return to Ste. Anne's. Not meaning to sound boastful, (as I really believe we only get to care for, not really "own" things in our lifetime), but Ste. Anne's really is a stunningly beautiful place full of warm and genuine people that I love to come home to. As far as the "budget priced" hotels we stayed at, I would recommend without hesitation, the Hotel des Halles in Paris, The Holiday Inn Express Hammersmith in London and the Killy Hevlin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. If you're planning a trip to Ireland and like to travel a little more up-market, and if you like to golf, we did visit and snoop around the Manor House in Enniskillen and the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell, Northern Ireland and found them to most most luxurious and well run. On a previous trip to Ireland I've stayed at some wonderful hotels in the south - just email me if you'd like a recommendation. Finally, my father and my inspired mentor turns 80 this Friday. If you've met Carl at the spa over the years and would like me to pass on your birthday wishes to him, send me an email and I will gladly be your messenger.

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