Fortunately, most of the heavy traffic was moving in the opposite direction. Even the motorway flowed smoothly for most of our journey, only slowing down a couple of times. Whilst there were no obvious reasons for the slow progress, we imagine that traffic merging from other directions was probably the culprit. There are just too many cars in England!
The slower pace only added another 15 minutes to TomTom’s predicted arrival time, but we then added extra time in finding a petrol station to fill up the car before returning it to the depot near Heathrow. All luggage accounted for, we hopped on board the waiting shuttle bus to the airport.
A 10-minute walk from the station brought us back to the Temple Court Hotel where we stayed last year. We have a lovely large room with a very comfortable king-size bed. It was about 4:40pm when we set off for a stroll around the streets of London. Being Sunday, the office areas were very quiet, but the West End and Covent Garden were buzzing. We were on the lookout for something like yiros for dinner, or even a pre-theatre meal deal would have sufficed.
It was around 9pm when we turned off the light and quickly drifted off to sleep. It seemed like the middle of the night when we were rudely awakened from our sleep to the screeching sound of an alarm. We were confused and disoriented. My first illogical thought was that someone had left the clock alarm set, but it was way too loud to be an ordinary alarm! Thankfully, it didn’t ring for too long. I checked the time on my iPad — it was only 10:22pm. I must have been in a deep sleep, because it felt like 2am!
We tried to resettle, but within a few minutes, it began ringing again. By now, we were becoming concerned. We tried to ring reception, but it was engaged. Then I poked my head out the door and noticed a young couple coming through the hall doors — they were also confused and were wondering whether we were supposed to evacuate the building. Then a man in the adjacent room poked his head out of the door and informed us that he had phoned reception between the two alarms. He had been told that they weren’t sure what was going on, but would notify everyone if we needed to do anything. Feeling somewhat reassured, we went back to bed, but not before I had laid out my coat, sandals and bum bag, ready to grab in case we really needed to evacuate the building! Although feeling somewhat unnerved, we drifted back to sleep relatively quickly.
P.S. In the morning, Michael found out that the alarm was set off by a fault in a room somewhere. They were unable to stop the fire brigade from attending. At least we didn’t have to evacuate!