Friday, January 7, 2011

Home from Home

I have successfully made the return journey to England, and my garret in London, from sunny Sydney. Fortunately there were no great dramas with the weather this time - the journey began uneventfully in the First Class lounge at Sydney Airport (one of my favourite lounges) and continued on BA's elderly but comfortable plane, via Bangkok, to London.

I slept most of the way on each leg (luckily for me, I find it hard to keep awake on planes); but about halfway across Asia - possibly in Pakistani airspace,or somewhere over Afghanistan (going on how the Captain described the flight path) I was compelled to wake up, due to bad dreams. I was dreaming of Pandora, who (in the dream) was with me on the plane, and I kept losing her. This nightmare scenario is of fairly obvious derivation. There is the psychological interpretation that I am once again leaving her behind; then there is the sorry truth that I did in fact lose her on more than one occasion recently. I lost her in:

(a) the shoe department of Myers;
(b) the Australian Wildlife Park nocturnal display (it was dark);
(c) the Marrickville Metro shopping mall; and
(d) the supermarket (somewhere around packaged pasta).

This is not a very good record for a responsible grandmother; but in my defence can I just say that she may be small, but she is fast. And very curious.

As is usual on these long-haul flights, we all woke up at about two in the morning and had a meal designed to look like breakfast. This fools no-one's body clock, but is a ritual steeped in time-hardened tradition. Then at about 6 am we all got off at Heathrow and queued for about 45 minutes in the immigration line, using the time to muse on the fact that at least half the immigration counters were unstaffed. *sigh* Actually, as I looked around me, most people were catching up on their email and updating their Facebook status on their iPhones. What did we do in queues before mobile technology?

Emerging at last, the driver suggested that I might like to put on that overcoat I was carrying. This was good advice, with the temperature about 3 degrees. It was 7.30 am, and pitch dark. Dawn didn't dawn until about 8.15 am, after I had made it back to St Pancras - which I now find very easy to think of as "home". Aww...

Terminal Three at 7.30 am.
No snow, Christmas lights still up, pitch dark.
After greeting Stuart at the concierge desk, and learning that London had not exactly managed a white Christmas (a few flurries late in the day, apparently), I made my way to my breakfast 'local', Le Pain Quotidian, with the Guardian under my arm. The waitress actually remembered me (and my usual order) which is quite an accomplishment. I was impressed.

Guardian - check; eggs - check; coffee - check.
Only the cricket headlines to spoil the tranquility of the moment.
The flat is surprisingly warm(ish) - it benefits from everyone else's heat rising upwards,I assume; and all is undisturbed and cosy. Now to rug up again in the swathes of winter clothes and say goodbye to my dresses, bare legs and painted toenails until Spring. Sydney was fabulous. London is fabulous. I am fortunate. And so are you, to get any kind of coherent blog post after that long-haul flight. 'Thank you for your attention. Arm doors and cross check.'

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