Well actually, you may not have noticed I was gone.
It was all very last minute.
Sair had a term break.
And there's an extra bed in her dorm room (due to the absconding roommate situation).
And she didn't seem to be feeling like taking off and traveling over the break.
So I grabbed a flight and took off for London.
United flight, not too bad.
Very fancy 1st class area (that I walked through to get to my very un-fancy economy class seats) — but they had these very sci-fi-ish pod-like beds, and evidently lots of extra snack things.
But economy wasn't too bad, except that the guy next to me had problems in divvying up the footspace, so it was even more cramped than it's supposed to be, and I could either hang my feet out in the aisle or kick him.
I couldn't decide if he was oblivious or what, but it made for a loooong ten hours.
London was lovely.
We bopped about on the tube running errands and generally seeing stuff.
Bought pointe shoes so Sair can stay for pointe class after ballet Fridays.
Found better grocery stores only a couple of tube stations away.
King's Cross having only the Tesco, but for unknown reasons Kentish Town Road (Not quite Kent town, just sorta Kentish) has what looks like about a dozen interesting-looking places.
Convinced her cell phone to accept more money.
(Because her flute teacher doesn't have a doorbell, so you call her from the doorstep)
And finally got her Nido card set up.
Which is a whole long story in itself
This is her dorm
On the plus side, Nido is quite new, opened last year, and completed over the summer.
And, um, it has heat.
And it is convenient.
And has ensuite bathrooms in each room.
Probably I can think of something else if I try really hard.
On the minus side, well, there isn't any choice in the matter.
Her school has pre-contracted the space, and she has to live there.
And it is pretty much all foreign students, though not primarily Americans.
(Oddly the ones dragging back sacks of KFC and McDonalds seem to be the Arabs, who knew?)
Overall it seriously lacks, well, cozy.
And has storage issues.
I mean, like no drawers in the room at all.
One narrow closet 18'', maybe, and the same space next to it, cut into cubbyholes.
The desks are table tops.
There is one (1) bookcase – three shelves fastened to one of the two desks in the double.
Because she is on floor 1-4, there is no view.
The window opens to a largely opaque grill – a solid metal sheet with a pattern of 2' holes in it, through which you can watch them building the new highrise next door.
The other "window" is frosted glass, with a narrow slit of open glass at the very top — so that if you come and stand next to it and crane your head you can tell the weather by seeing a four-inch slice of sky.
So it's pretty much a box.
With a dark green ceiling.
Some of the better rooms have in-room kitchettes, but that would have cost even more.
Instead she gets to use the communal kitchen, where no one ever washes the dishes.
So she's using the roommate's empty desk as a kitchen equivalent, with the windowsill to store cool stuff.
Works well enough.
They also have the most uncomfortable mattresses I have ever encountered, with springs that bounce in a very off-putting way, rather like sitting on a trampoline.
And they poke.
But the surface is really hard.
I'm not sure the floor wouldn't be better.
One of our failed errands was to find come kind of mattress pad or topper, but we didn't manage to locate the right kind of store.
(It is harder than it might seem to figure out what sells what and where are they.)
But part of the whole modern Nido thing is that they are no-cash.
Hence the card.
You get a little chip card that checks you in and out of the building, in and out of the various rooms, and is the only way to purchase things at the cafe, or to use the damn laundry.
Where there are 16 sets of machines for both high rises, and scientific sampling has established that at any given time at least six each, washers and dryers don't work.
But it is cheap, and in the basement, and you can't use it without money on the card.
And her card wouldn't accept payment from any of our US credit cards.
FInally we sicced the desk lady on the website, and after some prodding they admitted there was a glitch, and decided to take her money after all.
So she can stop carrying the laundry six blocks to do it.
By the time she leaves in April, it will all work.