It’s pre-dawn in England– Hell, it’s the middle of the night– but we’re up because 1) we have to go to Stansted Airport at 4 a.m., and 2) the kids are seriously maladjusted and have no idea what time it is. My daughter got a few hours of shuteye, but my son never went to sleep last night; I suspect he’s going to pay dearly for it today.

We flew in yesterday from San Francisco to Heathrow. I’m pleasantly impressed at how good my kids are at travel: of course they lose things, drop stuff under their seats, or leave critical things in the car (we’re traveling with only one Nintendo DS), but all these things will get better as they get older. Besides, speaking as someone who thought he lost his international SIM cards and extra SD cards, only to discover them in a pocket in his backpack, and who carries a travel mug on the plane precisely because he’s saturated one too many of the small areas that constitute your seat and tray table, I can say that even the best of us can make those kinds of mistakes.

After clearing customs and getting our bags (United is now landing in Terminal 1, but their videos still talk about what you do when you get to Terminal 3), we caught a coach to Stansted, then an airport shuttle to the Holiday Inn Express. It’s a totally forgettable, corporatized/globalized hotel, staffed entirely with Eastern Europeans (that seems to be the law– at least a law of economics– here). Our room has an exciting view of the parking lot. We had dinner early, then played some poker (the kids are now big fans), before turning out the lights. After a certain amount of thrashing, giggle fits, arguments over exactly where the center of the bed was, and complaints about everything from the size of the bed to the sound of the air conditioning, my daughter fell asleep. I don’t think my son went out for even a minute.

Nonetheless, I went downstairs, did some e-mail, and caught up with a couple people at the office. I’m trying to keep the amount of work I do down to a minimum, but the fact is one can’t be completely out of touch; the best I can do is focus more on my own articles and writing projects, and trust that the Institute– particularly the wonderful new people we have working on my main project– will take care of itself.

On to Hamburg, via Lubeck.