The opening bid of a thirty-minute delay in my flight has been announced. Thirty minutes is not enough to drive people to despair, indeed it has been accepted with barely a whimper.
I fear that thirty-minutes is only the start and we will be presented with incremental increases so that there is not armed rebellion. Far more of an incitement to violence is being near a curly haired man who has ostentatiously spoken on his mobile phone for over an hour without speaking into the phone itself but rather into some ethereal microphone giving the appearance of melancholy madness and talking only to himself. The only thing that has now stopped him is the fact that he has to get on a plane. Whereas I am doomed to look around at the sad remnants of humanity stuck here for even longer than we feared possible!
I am at present watching the queue for the flight to Belfast which is almost comical in its stereotypical ethnic appearance with skin either defiantly untouched by the sun’s rays or rosy from reckless exposure – contrast with the few obvious Iberians travelling with them. Actually, with more people arriving the stereotype has been shattered and my previous comments smack of prejudice. Ah well, anything to fill a line and keep my fingers occupied – and my mind - so that I don’t keep thinking that there is at least (at least) another hour to wait before we take off at the most optimistic expectation.
Yet again the two-hour leeway that airlines ask for passenger arrival seems ludicrously vicious!
Although I didn’t manage to get a seat with leg room a very accommodating young man with shaped eyebrows told me that there was an empty row at the back of the plane and I was therefore able to spread out and have a reasonable experience during the long, long flight. It was also made more tolerable by my purloining of a rejected copy of The Independent which, with difficulty, I managed to use my origami skills to make into some sort of shape which could be read in the cramped confines of a budget airline seat.
Accommodation in the Campanile Hotel is both better and worse than I expected. The room is more than acceptable with large bed and en suite; however any use of water anywhere in the edifice produces an irritating lift-like whine which is something up with which I will have to put. At least there is Wi-Fi, a kettle and coffee and tea. The rooms are on the American Motel model with access from an external balcony and they are spacious and adequate.
The meal (be fair I had had nothing since a bowl of muesli for breakfast) was less than spectacular but three courses for sixteen quid: carrot soup; summer chicken bake with slow something or other rice and an ice cream with caramel topping and a cup of coffee you were supposed to sip at the same time. I also had two pints of bitter – the first of which didn’t touch the sides. Now that is something I do miss.
Which is also what happened with Louise who, for the second time in two visits by my good self was out! To be out on one of my State Visits might be regarded as unfortunate; to be out on two smacks of carefully planned cutting. An art that I thought was dead and gone in this debased age!
Ceri and Rhys were in however, as was Heidi the dog – though I have to say that the first two greeted me immediately and it took Heidi an hour to make her way towards me and demand the sort of scratching that she has had on every other previous occasion that I have visited. I am going back for dinner on Saturday and it will take another hour for Heidi to realize that I am the same sucker that finds her itching point so exactly.
The great achievement of this holiday is a part justification of the latest in the long line of timepieces that I have, perfectly justifiably, bought. The one I have at the moment is, for me, an old watch: my Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual. The last time I came to the UK I merely turned the watch back to get the UK time. This played merry hell with the timepiece and it took ages to get it back to some sort of date/day/time coordination. This time I programmed the thing and I have actually got the watch working on Local Time – and it is still showing the right day! Result!
Of course there are some beggared imaginations that would intimate that a much simpler watch would only need a small turn of the knurled knob to set the time back and forward. I spurn such simplistic defeatism! What is the point of buying a gadget-filled watch of enormous complexity (which compensates for leap years!) if you do not have to study a manual of more than Byzantine sophistication to get a straightforward adjustment facilitated! Some people!
It works and I am justified!
However this achievement may rate in annals of gadgetry, I have a more pressing and domestic problem: the ironing of the suit. Having bought a case which complies with the ever more stringent demands of budget airlines I have (well, Toni has to be exact) shoehorned suit, shoes, tie, cufflinks (thought I don’t know where they are at the moment) and all the other necessities for a decorous appearance at the funeral tomorrow into a space which, while certainly not nutshell-like is near enough to it to be known to the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. What I drew out of the tiny container looked like Barbara Cartland before the plaster. Everything is wrinkled.
The solution is an iron which has been given to me by the man at the reception/bar/restaurant, together with a dinky little table mountable ironing board. And when I find the plug I am really going to do something about the crumpled appearance of my formal wear.
The only thing which looks good is my tie. This is a tromp l’oeil confection of what looks like a series of slanting, undulating, black and grey metallic ribbons. I also have a black tie if I think the final appearance is a little too gaudy. But the cufflinks (if I can find them) do match, so surely that makes it tasteful.
To work. To iron. To be ready.
And then to sleep!