Thursday, 21 December 2017

Home again

I feel much better this morning. No headache and I don’t feel like puking. I call that a win win.

The queue for the breakfast room is even longer this morning. We hang around for five minutes before being seated. At least the queue is as long now as when we joined it.

I serve myself another dockers breakfast. With extra bacon. You really can never have too much bacon. Dolores has gone instead for beans on toast with a couple of poached eggs. “Health nazi.” I think as I look at her sad plate. I don’t say it, mind. Not a good way to start the day getting a kick on the shins. Or worse. I’ve learned that it’s not a clever to anger Dolores.

Two 50-something sisters are sitting next to us. Gossiping away incessantly. Mostly about someone called Sean, who appears to be their brother. “I never spoke much with. He’d come around ours and just sit there saying nothing. Our make that stupid laugh of his.” They’re from Manchester way, judging by the accent. Unfortunately, their breakfast ends before the interminable Sean tale. I never get to hear the ending.

Dolores heads off to the shops while I watch Sunday Brunch and finish the packing. When Dolores returns with the meat and crisps, she has some news. KLM have sent her an SMS saying that our flight has been cancelled.

Looking on my flipflop, I see they’ve sent me a message, too. We need to get in touch with KLM to see about rebooking on another flight. Dolores calls them and, with remarkably little faffing around, we’re rebooked on a flight about an hour later than planned. But it’s from Heathrow rather than London City. And with BA rather than KLM.

Oh well, things could have been worse. Like when I had to hang around in Charles de Gaulle all bloody day on my way back from Chile. And, in terms of transport, Heathrow is easier to get to. We just have to jump on a Piccadilly line tube at Russell Square.

I’ve never been to Heathrow Terminal 5 before. It’s so long since I was last at Heathrow, Terminal 5 hadn’t even been built.

The machine won’t let us check in so we have to go to a desk. Not a problem as there isn’t much of a queue. Before you know it the bag is checked in and we’re standing in the security queue. Which is lovely and short.

Have you noticed that airports are turning into shopping centres with a secondary transport function? Terminal 5 is taking this to a new extreme. Especially as hardly any of the hops are selling useful stuff like food and booze, but instead are mostly selling designer shite Where’s the Wetherspoons?

We eventually find a map. With no Wetherspoons marked, only a couple of “undergoing renovation” signs. The only refreshment possibility seems to be a place called the Pilot Bar.

It’s quite full. We quickly grab a couple of seats, but are told that we have to wait for a waitress to seat us. 30 seconds later a waitress shows to exactly the same seats we’ve just been told to vacate. That was fun.

There isn’t much of a beer list. Heineken Pils, Lagunitas IPA. I guess there is an upside to Heineken buying them up.

A Geordie about my age sits at our table. He goes for Lagunitas, too, though without a great deal of enthusiasm. “The Weatherspoons is shut.” He tells us in a voice tinged with sadness and regret. “There’s nowhere else to come but here.” It’s obviously somewhere he’d never usually come. Nor would I, if the Spoons were open.

Dolores checks on our flight. “It says the gate is closing.” Damn. I thought our flight was 30 minutes later. I know have to rush down my pint. “Don’t worry, we’ve got a bag checked in. They can’t leave without us.” But we still hurry to the gate, which luckily is close at hand.

At least there was a Boots in Terminal 5. Where I picked up a sarnie for the flight. Cheese and onion, for just a quid. I rightly predicted BA wouldn’t be feeding us.

After a bit of waiting around for the checked in bag we’re out of the airport and on a number 69 bus. The flat is still intact when we return. Though all the Amstel and all but a thimbleful of the gin have disappeared. Looks like the kids have had a productive weekend.

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