Well I have to say that the land of sand leg of my latest departure to Blighty was remarkably mundane and routine. In fact, if anything, it was quite impressive.
The check in desks were disconcertingly quiet, as was immigration, and the usual bunfight just didn’t happen.
In fact, and land of sand residents will appreciate the enormity of this statement, a new personal record has been established. Yeap 8 minutes from being dropped off by the legend that is Venkat to sitting down on one of the rock-hard plastic chairs at the departure gate while wondering what to do now.
Yeap, the whole process went incredibly smoothly – very disconcerting I may add.
This rapid and unexpected march through procedures left me with yet another conundrum – what do I do now in other all this extra time?
To be honest I think the departure lounge at Terminal 1 had swallowed an efficiency pill as everything went swimmingly and the time flew past. Before I knew it we were boarding and we pushed back off the stand early – unheard of……..
To be honest I suspect that the early departure, well a couple of minutes, had more to do with the new suit who has obviously been shipped in from BA Towers to shake things up a bit. Yeap, you get to know all the faces at the airport and tonight there was a new one, a very tall European who obviously carried some clout and who was shaking things up a bit….
Anyway, I am writing this post somewhere over Greece and it will be posted at some WIFI friendly location later.
Now, it is at this point that I need to make an apology not just not to British Airways but also to everybody around me in what is affectionately known as ‘cattle class’. No, I have not over indulged in dried apricots, ( I still have not found the hidden packet), with the associated implications.
Yes, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever be making an apology to BA, let alone on the EIOT blog.
Yes, I am making a formal and public apology to BA! BA please note that it is OK to apologise, it will not kill you and actually in fact it makes people more inclined to respect you. In fact, thinking about it, BT that applies to you as well…..
Sorry, slight digression there.
So, to my apology,
People who see me regularly will know that I usually have some sort of earphones attached to my head and am usually listening to music. No surprise there.
However, on tonight’s flight I had dug out an older pair of Bluetooth earphones and paired them up with my phone. Again, no surprise there, nothing too exciting – in theory.
Anyway, it is important to note at this point that the flight back to Blighty is a grim night flight and after offering the residents of cattle class a chocolate muffin, (packed with gluten I hasten to add so I am now ravenous), the lights are dimmed and everybody is expected to go to sleep,
Well, sleep evaded me. Every time I shut my eyes and thought about snoozing, my legs jumped into action with that old syndrome – restless legs. The poor chap next to me must on several occasions have been concerned for his welfare as my legs sprung into action, completely independently of the rest of me.
Eventually I gave up on the idea of sleep and resorted back to music.
Now, please bear in mind that the selected earphones of the evening are older and I am not so used to using this pair.
I selected my music as the rest of the world dozed around me. Yeap, the soundtrack from The Martian. Lots of cheesy 90’s music. I pressed play.
It took me a while to hear anything, but repeated pressing of the volume up button sorted that.
Next I started bemoaning the earphones – I suddenly remembered why I don’t use that set very often, the sound quality was awful.
Suddenly the cattle class cabin started to stir with grumbling and general awakeness.
I was OK, I carried on listening to my music…….
Well I will leave the rest to your imagination, other than to say that actually there is no problem with the older earphones, but they work better if you actually connect them via Bluetooth to your phone and don’t blast 90’s pop music out to the whole cattle class cabin on an overnight BA flight….
Unreserved apologies all round.
Now, onto my next adventure – Avis.
Over the last few years I have built up quite a relationship with AVIS at Manchester Airport. As we currently do not own a car the UK and haven’t for quite sometime, I spend a lot of time in that office and they now know me and me them.
As a member of the AVIS loyalty scheme I have gone off the top end and am now eligible for double upgrades etc.
This is useful as usually I just need to book the lowest possible class of car and usually I get something pretty cool.
Now on my last booking there was a small issue of a dented ego – not a dented car I hasten to add.
The small testosterone filled one and I had arrived to collect the vehicle, to be greeted by the duty AVIS chap with a huge grin, (ACWHG). The conversation went something like:
ACWHG: ‘Oh hello Mrs EIOT. How are you? Good trip from the land of sand?’
ME: ‘ Yes thanks, all good’
ACWHG: ‘Mrs EIOT, You booked a basic model of a Fiat, but I am delighted to say that we have upgraded you to a Mercedes A – Class’
ACWHG was clearly very proud of this and was excited to share in my good fortune.
Now, it is important to remember here that actually I am not into cars and I neither know nor care what a Mercedes A – Class is. A far as I am concerned cars have four wheels that hit the road and one that I use for steering.
So, to be polite I was enthusiastic and grateful for his gratitude while not knowing what the heck he was on about.
A few minutes later the small man and I made our way over to the ‘Mercedes A-Class’ to find a sleek sports car, low suspension in a trendy, not chavvy or wide boy way, cream leather seats, gadgets, gleaming paintwork and cudos.
The small man was beside himself with excitement, I had a bolt of terror running down my spine.
To put this into context, let’s look at the bigger picture. We live, and so the car was destined for, deepest Cumbria. In deepest Cumbria the roads are so narrow that the driver actually breathes in as you drive along them in an attempt to ensure you get through. There are potholes that make The Grand Canyon look like a pinprick. There are cows and sheep which meander past the cars as they make there way from one grazing spot to another while depositing all sorts of bodily fluids and solids on whatever gets in the way. Finally, and in our case, there are numerous trips to the recycling centre with vast amounts of rubbish which quite frankly would not sit well on cream leather seats.
Yeap, deepest Cumbria is not the place for a Mercedes A-Class,
The small man was devastated by my decision, but there was no turning back.
We went back to the office to be greeted by ACWHG who asked if there was a problem. The small man huffed and I explainedthat actually I didn’t want the Mercedes A-Class – had they got anything else by any chance?
Crestfallen does not come close. I had burst ACWHG’s bubble. I had not heard only wrecked his day but quite possibly his life. How could I not want a Mercedes A-Class? Well, quite easily.
It turned out that ACWHG was a city chap and had never been to deepest Cumbria. So no amount of my explaining was going to make any difference.
I left the office that morning having given him the phone number of The Samaritans.
The small man and I drove off that day in a bog standard Volkswagen Golf with no gadgets – much better. We were watched out of the car park by ACWHG with a tear in his eye.
All the whike I was getting it in the neck from the small testosterone filled one….
Well today they have got the message and given me a suitably robust and resilient Jeep Renegade which is perfect for the deep Cumbrian countryside. Yes it may well be bright orange which makes it stand out like a sore thumb and is anything but in keeping with a rural setting, but at least I know it will stand the pace and I stand a reasonable chance of no extra charges when I return it in a few days.
So, the much anticipated and waited reunion with the gruesome twosome. Yeap, I am now on my way towards school ready to liberate the corridors from their inimitable presence – if only for a couple of hours while I take them out for tea.
Yeap, the strawberry blond hand-grenade will be deposited back at the boarding house later – much to her disgust. She needs the structure and routine of the boarding house, not to mention the influence of the housemistress bearing down on her and if that fails there is the ultimate weapon – Matron.
The small testosterone filled one will retreat with me to EIOT Towers. Do not think there is any preferential treatment here, far from it, his time will come to be deposited straight back at school with a full stomach.
Right, you can only spend so long in Costa coffee at a motorway service station before you start getting suspicious looks, so best I head off towards EIOT Towers to assess progress, if we have water and see if there is any evidence at all of anything even vaguely having been done by BT – best I don’t hold my breath on that one.
I will endeavour to post but the well documented communication issues at Chez EIOT may make that a tad tricky…..
I will be back.