Return to the UK

Why is it that the return journey to the UK always feels much worse than the outward journey to the USA? Zack kindly drove us to the airport and soon we were once again stripping off for the security check: coats off, bags onto the conveyor belt, belt off, shoes off. We found a fantastic place for lunch, overlooking a Virgin Airlines 747 being unloaded, and then stocked up on a few last essentials: jelly beans and Peanut Butter M&Ms.

The flight lasted about eleven hours; it should have been around 60 minutes shorter but we were held in a holding pattern over London due to inclement weather. The last five hours left the longest. I was too hot, cramped and really too tired to read, although I did it anyway. Jane took a couple of travel pills that helped her sleep some of the way. The inflight entertainment was rather good: Runway Jury, and Bad Boys 2, which I managed to watch twice (though I missed the beginning both times).

The only real excitement during the flight was trying to maintain bladder control during our mid-air, seatbelts-on, hour-long delay and rather bumpy descent into London Heathrow.

We made our way from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 like seasoned travellers, to discover that our flight (BA 1444) was delayed. The bad winds (45-60 mph gusts), rain and snow had meant that incoming flights were being reduced to one every two minutes, rather than one a minute. So the cabin crew who were due to be serving our flight were still in a holding pattern over London on other flights. A new crew were paged, and shortly after 14:20 (it was a 12:55 flight) we took off. Jane and I were too exhausted to do anything on the flight other than gracefully pass out!

Eddie and Rebecca met and picked us up at the airport, which was kind given that it was Eddie’s birthday. We caught up with them later at St John’s Curry Club when we realised that we’d been up for almost a whole day and hadn’t eaten a proper meal since we were in SF China Town on Thursday night; the waiters were shocked. Despite the fact that Jane and I were sitting opposite one another, and therefore well within hearing range, we were surprised when we discovered that we had ordered exactly the same dish! We were SO not with it.

It is nice to be home: our own bed; a foot-high pile of mail to wade through; one car that wouldn’t start (mine!); a dodgy bath drain; thousands of e-mails, mostly spam; and various (76) spyware items and trojans (3) that found their way onto my PC while I was away. But we’re back now, and settling in.

And that is that. I’ll post some pictures when they are developed, and move this holiday blog to its own page, to make way for our next adventure.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.