I’ve decided I hate flying, I hate airports and terrorists have won the war on terror. My poor little red suitcase has returned with a few more war wounds, my shampoo gave up the ghost and exploded and I sat in a catatonic state in Heathrow airport for too long yesterday.
BMI have somehow made the whole process of checking in painless by getting rid of people and having an avatar on a computer screen. From there on in it all goes horribly wrong. I merrily tootled off to departures and then started following the queue back from departures that zigged this way and zagged that way and zigged... look it was just blooming long OK. So after an hour in that queue with people frantically trying to squish all their liquids into this tiny little freezer bag and me staring at my little tub of Vaseline and wondering how can anyone get that much make up on one face anyway we then get to the x-ray machine. Oh bliss – take your belt off, your coat, your shoes – would it not just be easier to turn up naked?
And then it all got peaceful again. I bought three different types of cheddar; I got a cup of tea and a flapjack. I stared through the mist at the grey green hills of the environs of Dublin, I wished the planes would get out of the way, which to be honest they did and I squinted over at the departure screen. After much squinting I realised that yes, that was my plane delayed until 11.45, but some slow counting in multiples of ten on my fingers and I figured out it was OK, just. Sitting on the plane having lost my window seat to a mere infant who would otherwise have been separated from her family and being told we couldn’t take off until 12.30 I then realised that all hope of being at home by 5 pm was lost.
On landing at Heathrow I followed all the signs at break neck speed and it was like popping back through the wardrobe after being in Narnia. Hey this is where I was last Friday, there’s the hideous smoking room, there’s the check in, there’s the man who showed me how to check in, there’s ... Shit I’m going to have to take my boots off again. And then I tried to accept I wasn’t going to be home by 5 pm, but I still must have looked very very sad when I went to the ticket man at BMI because he gave me a WINDOW seat in one of those big seats up near the captain!
And finally we landed at Terminal 1 of CDG. On home ground at last, yeah! Terminal 1 is like the set of a bad 60’s sci-fi movie with it’s white pebble dash walls and rounded pod holes everywhere and the travelators that go down and up and down and up and then the criss crossy escalators that are actually outside the circular terminal, but inside the circle and finally, finally the moment I’ve been waiting for: THE TAXI RANK. I could almost hear the hosts of angels singing ‘Alleluia!’ Due to the one wayness of my road being the wrong one way from the airport I was still happy to be getting out at the corner of my street and sprinting up the last bit, following the bin man in, lugging the case up the last few steps, keys in the door and then yes, yes, yes, yes ... MY SOFA, with sleeping bag already curled up on it. It’s good to be home.
Yeah I left the Paramount hotel in
PS Thanks to Susan and Minx for your special messages.