Made it back alive

Well, here I am, back in the UK. I’m relieved to make it back fairly painlessly as I’ve always hated the flights home from that side of the Atlantic – the jetlag always kills me. I’ve had a four hour power kip this afternoon, though I’m suspecting that I’m going to be awake for quite some time this evening. It’s looking like I’ll have plenty of opportunity to play Half Life 2 for the first time in more than three weeks.

My flight was the cause of some concern on Friday. When checking the Air Canada site for my flight it was showing up as “This flight is either cancelled or not scheduled for this day” or something like that, which was nice. It was impossible to get hold of a human via their contact numbers but a robot told us that my flight was actually going to be on time. A recheck yesterday morning on the Air Canada site confirmed this – looks like the page was having a brain-fart on Friday.

My brother in-law Phil took me to the airport yesterday afternoon and I used one of those fancy Express check-in screens where you don’t even have to talk to one of the surly ladies at a desk to get your boarding card, you just have to insert your VISA and punch in your details. It was showing my flight as delayed! Only by fifteen minutes though thankfully.

I checked my bag in easily enough (it’s very quick with the Express system they have now) and went for a coffee with Phil. It’s been great to spend some time with him while I’ve been here too. I’ve never had the chance to get to know him very well before now, but now that I’ve been staying with them for three weeks I can see how well they all get on. I know he’s going to take good care of my baby sis and my two nieces (not that Julie needs taking care of) and I’ve discovered that he’s a really good, honest bloke.

Getting through security was OK, though they wanted to examine my trumpet (not a euphemism). We boarded quickly enough and I got in my aisle seat with a vacant seat beside me. Now, on my flight out I ended up sat next to a lovely 84 year-old lady who was charming and all that, but not particularly fanciable. I was hoping this time for someone younger and better looking.

A number of lovely young women came past without asking to be let in. I was almost giving up hope when a lovely, petite, asian-looking women insisted on sitting next to me! She turned out to be a 28 year-old teacher from Toronto of Trinidadian heritage who was on her way out to Reading to teach high school science for a couple of terms. She was quite gorgeous too, very intelligent and we talked rather a lot during the flight.

A strong tail wind meant that we arrived back at Heathrow earlier than expected, but then so did a whole bunch of other trans-atlantic flights. The baggage caroussel was packed and my suitcase took an age to show. This started to worry me because I had to make it to the Central Bus Station by 07:30 and I was pushed for time. I made it a minute late, but thankfully the coach was ten minutes late getting there. Thank you National Express for being tardy!

And here I am. I absolutely had to catch some sleep when I got in. I can’t sleep in planes at all, and I was well knackered by the time I got here. I’ll be posting a retrospective of my holiday soon, so look out for that (don’t get too excited now). It was really sad to say goodbye to my sis and her family, but I’ll get to see them again in April when they come over here. It was a brilliant three weeks.

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