The Team Jones London mini-break is over. We are home. Triumphant. A great trip; great times; great friends; great craic. The journey home was less Herculean than Thursday’s – no signal problems; no standing room only; no gin. Today was a more leisurely affair, broken up by news from Centre Court and Trent Bridge. I was glad Garbine Muguruza won after her near miss in 2015 to the other half of that mesmerising tennis team although less pleased to see England’s batting fail, again. In truth, these were both appetisers for tonight’s feast from Fenway as the Red Sox, fresh from last night’s walk-off walk, play game 2 in their crucial three-game series against the Yankees.
We started our day in style – breakfast at another favourite old London haunt; The Riding House Cafe near Great Portland Street. It never disappoints with its buzzy atmosphere, simply-presented but tasty traditional opener to the day and retains its smugness and self importance – “you can have the table for an hour”- yeah, aright mate – which somehow does not grate, probably through familiarity and many good memories.
We were whisked to the station in south London by one half of our wonderful hosts, who alongside the heartfelt embrace and delightful home they opened to us, provided us with a gastro-feast over two nights; restaurant quality food, served with love and warmth. Oh, and outstandingly delicious (photo from last night’s dinner to prove it). Part of our extended Irish clann.
We waved goodbye – lots of blowing of kisses from Miss J followed – and we made our locomotive way home. Not for the first time this last 48 hours – it was in fact the third – someone got up and gave Dr J and Aoife a seat on the tube. So much for selfish London.
We could not have enjoyed our trip more and yet it brings back no buyers remorse, no longing to return to the place we called home and the place of Aoife’s birth. Miss J loved the sights and sounds, although the crowds she could live without; we know how she feels.
The day ended at a fourth birthday party – a grand affair in a grand home of grand people; our nearest friends – a drive and a wedge way from our home. Speaking of which Team Jones heads to The Open tomorrow for the first practice day – with seven more days of at least some daily attendance (by me!) to follow. Tired bodies and minds – although one member of Team Jones still going strong as I write – we dragged ourselves home.
We count ourselves lucky to live the lives we live – although hard work played a part – but happier still to be surrounded by love and support, whether at home or away. These last two days; further vivid evidence of that. Home from home. That said, I have long contended – backed up by my spectacular wife – that although it is lovely to go away and have the times of it – the best thing about going away is coming home. Where we live and our hearts are at their fullest.