Saturday, 11 August 2007

Flying and other annoying things

So. My trip to Edinburgh this week. Everytime I haven't been on a plane for a while (which is pretty much every time I do fly, as I don't fly places much) I think that I must be mis-remembering how much I hate to fly. I think that it can't be as bad as I remember. But it always is. I hate flying. I am an extremely bad flier. Every pocket of turbulence... every change in tone of the engine has me convinced we are about to drop out of the sky. That is why I like a window seat... at least I can still see the ground is plenty distance away!

I flew BA from City Airport. Why schlep out to Gatwick or Heathrow when City is on your doorstep?! City Airport is great... nice and small and efficient. The plane going up took off on time and managed to arrive in Edinburgh early! Even though I've done the flight before it still freaks me out when, as you approach Edinburgh the plane flies out over the North Sea (presumably to get the angle right for landing at Edinburgh). I want to ask the pilot why we are going to Belgium?!

I had a worthwhile day in Edinburgh... and then it was time to come home. I got to the airport well over an hour before my flight... so I made a few phonecalls and decided to have a glass of wine (well, why not). This turned out to be not such a good idea. I went off through Security when the sign direct "go to gate"... and sat and waited, and waited and waited. Turned out that the plane we were supposed to have had broken down (or whatever) so obviously they had unloaded all the luggage etc. and moved it to a new plane. Finally took off... only to discover about 10 minutes in that the ovens had broken down on the new plane and there was no food! Too awful. I was starving! To make up for this (and probably to make sure that nobody was with it enough to be annoyed) the cabin crew served up double portions from the bar (well the tin trolley that goes up and down the aisle). So... that was two mini-bottles of wine to add to the glass I'd already had. Made for a very pleasant flight, I must say. As we arrived in London we went round to the south and came in over central London. Normally I'd have been worrying that we were very low, why was it taking so long, why was it bumpy, why were the engines changing sound... but on this occasion my thoughts were limited to... oh look, there's the Gherkin, there's Tower 42... can I see my office, no too slow... oh, there's Piccadilly Circus.

My journey onward was sadly blighted by the Jubilee Line (suspended due to a fire alert at Bermondsey). If I had not been slightly drunk I would probably have thought to have gotten a cab instead of waiting for an indeterminate time at Canning Town!

The Jubilee Line struck again on Friday morning when, for several hours, it was suspended from Finchley Road to Waterloo due to a signal failure at North Greenwich. Fortunately I was at a site visit so nowhere near the tube until much later by which time the delays were only 'minor'. My journey was blighted by the M25... which was amazing as I wasn't even on the M25!!! Going down I had the usual chaos at Darenth Interchange (or whatever it calls itself) where you leave the A2 for the M25 or the Dartford Crossing (at that time of day, big queue for the crossing). I got to site and amusingly had to park 'on site'. This wouldn't be amazing unless you know that the site has no external area... which means that parking on site involves driving through the empty shopfronts (awaiting fitting) and parking in the ground floor of the building! Coming back I got stuck in traffic. I'd heard on the way down about an accident on the M25... two lorries - one had overturned and the other had shed it's load. Plasterboard all over the carriageway! This was still shutting the motorway at nearly lunchtime... and the queue at the Darenth Interchange was quite unreasonable and at least doubled the length of my journey.

I knew the morning must have been bad when I saw a sign at Green Park in the evening apologising for your Jubilee Line Service this morning. London Underground... can't live with it, can't go anywhere without it (or sometimes with it!).