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Trip Report 6 women, 2 flats, 2 cars (oops - 3 cars), big house -- 2+ weeks in England

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I've been back a little over a week and REALLY need to do my trip report. Unfortunately, 2 days after getting home I came down w/ some sort of viral crud and have either been in bed or wishing I was in bed ever since. Finally feeling sort of human again so guess its time to fish or cut bait :)

It may take me a few days to get things sorted out and finished but at least I can start tonight.

Background: This trip has been in the planning for the best part of a year. We started out w/ 9 friends mostly in a local book club. Over the months the players changed a few times because of health problems, family deaths, one just plain chickening out, and various and sundry "issues". The final group ended up four of us from the book club flying from SFO, plus the sister of one and sister's best friend flying from ORD.

The plan is to spend the first week in two 2-bdrm flats in St Katharine's Marina and then a week in a big, old, posh farmhouse midway between Chipping Campden and Stratford. After the 2nd week, the ORD ladies flew home; I stayed over an additional day in London to go to the Chelsea Flower Show; the husband of one woman flew in and the two of them connected on to Shannon for a week in Ireland; and the final two took the train up to Glasgow to catch a two week coach tour of Scotland and Ireland returning to LHR to fly back to SFO. Talk about a complicated itinerary! I normally book everything myself, but we turned all the flights over to a local TA and she worked everything out beautifully.

Our VS SFO-LHR flight and the AA ORD-LHR flight landed 30 mins apart at T-3 - just about perfect timing.

Accommodations:

In London we rented through http://www.hamletuk.com/ We originally booked 3 flats (two 2-bdrm and one 1-bdrm) but w/ the shrinkage from 9 to 8 to finally 6, we cancelled the 1-bdrm and still had LOTS of space. Both flats were comfortable w/ either a terrace or patio, full kitchen and everything we needed. One flat had views of the marina and the other had views over a landscaped courtyard. I usually stay in more central neighborhoods, but needing 3 flats (originally) in the same bldg was more important than being in the center of things. The marina turned out to be the perfect location (except for the Circle/district line being shut down our first weekend - more on that later). There is a very nice Waitrose supermarket, several restaurants, Thames boat pier, chemist, dry cleaners - all the comforts of home.

In the country we rented http://tinyurl.com/oehvpt Loved, LOVED this place! Four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, huge eat-in kitchen w/ 8 burner stove, dishwasher, washer/dryer, 2 fridges, etc, large dining room, 2 flat screen TVs, computer/free internet, phone w/ free local calls and they just asked for a small donation if we used long distance, beautiful garden w/ furniture/gazebo. The house is across the street from the church and a block from the VERY good College Arms pub.

That's about all I can manage tonight . . . . . I'll pick up from our arrival (and the first snafu before we even get out of Arrivals :) )

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