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Kingdom-bound October 6, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

Well, not for ages yet, really, and not for anything as life-changing as upping sticks permanently. No, just another UK errand beckons, and once more I must place myself in Easyjet’s (I know that’s not how to spell it, and that it starts with a small letter and there’s a capital in the middle somewhere – I think it’s EasYjet – but they can sod off if they think I’m going to remember that) incapable hands.

This travel lark’s an awful pain. Not that it isn’t always lovely to set foot on English soil, eat funny pies (had a nice ale and kidney – or something like that – one last time in a heavenly old ancient pub, but what is that bird’s nest disguised as pastry they put on top?) and chat with the natives. But as I get older and fussier and turn into all the women in my family who are ALL scared of EVERYTHING, travelling, and especially flying, has become an awful chore.

All the more so when this is with eAsyjEt.

Of course I’m awfully grateful for their cheap fares and the obscene over-familiarity of the staff, but they really need to give themselves more than 12 seconds between landing from one flight to get everyone off, have a rub around with the hoover, do a crammer of the eaSYjeT staff joke book and then get the next lot of punters on again. So flights are, inevitably, late. I am happily going to book myself on whatever cheapo flight to the kingdom I find, which will probably be landing at 4am at an utterly inconvenient airport.

As I sat, starving and skint, at Belfast Bobby Sands Airport – at least I THINK that’s what it was called – last month, waiting for a flight back to Gatwick before then heading on to Berlin, I screwed myself up ever more angrily in my chair when the inevitable DELAYED sprang up on the well-ogled screen. But do you know what the wankers at Belfast Airport have the cheek to write on the screen when your flight is delayed? Do you? “Relax & Shop.” In the imperative. Cunts. No I fucking well will not fucking relax and shop. I won’t relax because I’ll get ‘home’ at 3 in the morning, and either your or Gatwick’s cunting baggage-handling staff will by then have smashed my lap-top to bits, and I won’t shop because a) I’m skint and b) I’ll decide what to do myself, shall I? As it was, I shuffled around from waiting area to waiting area, hoping to get a bit of variety. And do you know who I saw? Only Gloria flipping Hunniford, stocking up on hairspray for the next millennium, no doubt. And then she got on my eASyjET flight. You’d think BBC Ulster would splash out a bit…

But another trip. Which will no doubt be peppered with talk of Christmas. I want to sleep till spring.


1. Wyndham - October 6, 2006

Well, that explains the massive hole in the ozone layer then. Gloria Hunniford’s bouffant being sent up 30,000 feet, zig-zagging across the sky and letting in harmful rays.

The next time you’re in W1 I demand an audience!

2. BiB - October 6, 2006

Have you abandoned NW5, you old traitor? Alas, I fear this trip is, again, going to be provinces only. I think I hardly qualify as a Londoner any more.

The gent next to me on the plane said, “That’s Gloria Hunniford.” Seeing he was the type who wanted to chat, I had to feign being asleep for the rest of the flight. Not easy with Darren, Horst and the rest of the crew living it up in the aisles.

3. annie - October 7, 2006

Excellent swearing, BiB. *applauds*

4. Bren - October 7, 2006

You should come on down to my Land of Sweeping Plains. I’m already doing spring. And with it, stupid hayfever. First time in my life I’m doing hayfever. Unbelievable.

Stupid Melbourne.

5. Ed Ward - October 7, 2006

Those annoying capital letters in the middle of business names are known as CamelCaps. Why? Hell, I dunno. Do I look like the fucking EncyclopediaBrittanica?

6. BiB - October 7, 2006

Annie, thank you for not minding the swearing, and even applauding it. Sometimes, no other words will do. Those sods turned my laptop into what looks like a stale, curled-up-at-the-edges metal sandwich. Miraculously, it still works, but pretty it ain’t. (I am listening to your Gentlemen Who Fell podcast as I type. Couldn’t open the other one. And very nice it is too.)

Ah Bren, I feel like a little brother, or someone with a pal a year older who has already moved on to big school. Even if you are about 12 years younger than me. How is life post-blog? Do you mean you STILL haven’t fallen in love with Melbourne, which just about EVERYONE tells me is heaven on earth. Be warned that I will be willing to sell my story to whatever the Australian equivalent of The Sun is for, ooh, about $4 – I drive a hard bargain – when you become Australia’s top pundit. “Well, yes, he blogged this actually…”

Ed, thank you. Call me childish, but your well-timed swear made me laugh out loud. Several times. Ask me next time we meet if I remember what CamelCaps are, to check teflonity.

7. Blonde at Heart - October 8, 2006

I think both you and Bren should come to Israel. There is no real spring here and therefore no hayfever, and no Christmas.

Oh, and most importantly, the EaSyJeT-esque company know how to spell its name correctly. Here is called Israir. Same nerve-wracking trip in a samalote, but here, unlike in inter-European flights, there is the pleasure of estimating the chances of your nautical burial in the mediterrainian. Jolly good fun.

8. BiB - October 8, 2006

BAH, internal Israeli flights? They must be vying for the shortest-flight-time-ever record, mustn’t they? Tel Aviv to Jerusalem must take about 10 minutes. I suppose Haifa-Eilat could hit the half-hour mark. Is there an Israeli rail network? Actually, as I become less and less interested in travelling anywhere ever, Israel is at the top of the list for places I would actually still like to go. I want to see Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. (My brother worked in the latter and sang its praises.) And, if it exists, I want to take a train through the desert. And I want to avoid Christmas. And hay fever. Maybe I’ll come this December and stay till June. If there isn’t a rail network, I’ll build one.

9. Blonde at Heart - October 8, 2006

BiB, since Israel is so tiny (a three hours trip from Jerusalem to say, Haifa, is considered very very long). There is only a Kiryat Shmona-Tel Aviv and a Tel Aviv-Eilat inter-flights lines. You can do most of the travels either by bus or train (Yes! there is a rail system in Israel, thanks to the Brits).

I suppose if you take the train to Dimona (a nuclear hellhole) or Be’er Sheva you will travel through the desert. Never done it myself, so can’t tell you.

December to June is a lovely time in Israel.

10. BiB - October 8, 2006

Can I go from Haifa-Eilat by, presumably, Israil? I’m not sure whether inheriting a rail network from the Brits is a good or bad thing. Hopefully the Israelis have improved upon what the Brits started. I wonder if you’ve also inherited the bonkers British pricing system, whereby a single 100th class ticket might cost 9 million pounds but a first class return might cost 20. I couldn’t believe it when I got to France and a return cost double what a single cost. Logic!

11. Blonde at Heart - October 8, 2006

No, you cannot. The train does not reach Eilat. The train fares are indeed higher than those of the busses.

12. BiB - October 8, 2006

OK, trip to Israel this winter is officially my latest concrete fantasy.

13. Adrian - October 11, 2006

I always get narked on a flight when the cabin crew / automated voiceover tells me to “just sit back and relax”. 1) I’m already going to dance around the aisles, am I? 2) Relaxing is up to me, thanks.

14. BiB - October 11, 2006

I don’t especially like flying. I once flew with my boss – a Catholic priest – from Russia to somewhere or other and just as we whizzed down the runway and I began to think, “OK, this could be it,” he made the sign of the cross. I was only partly reassured.

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