Friday, 7 April 2017

Thursday 6th April 2017

And it's Thursday again, and time to go home. Again. Always a good day when you go home.

I had to pack, including the three large bottles of Danish beer that Jesper had given me. I had little expectations they would fit into my case, but they did. But would they get damaged by those pesky airport baggage handlers? Only time would tell.

Audi A6 S Line I always leave too early, too eager to get home you see. I check out of the hotel just before breakfast starts; well, half an hour, so I would have to get something at the airport. Now, I always expect the airport to be deserted at half six in the morning, or even seven, but there are the business flights, tourist flights, so it is always packed.

In short, I should know better.

THe car is a pleasure to drive, in a bad way, more than enough horses to power past any car or truck that is dawdling in my way. I have to be careful, as it is easy to be driving at eighty, when it should be 50. It is a fine morning, clear blue skies and maybe it will be warmer later, but I will be well south by then. The sun rises, lighting the tops of trees as I fly by, laughing as I come off a roundabout, and with one squeeze of my big toe, the car accelerates to 75 and I move to pass a VW camper van. He does manage to keep up, only becasue I slow down again. Driving this Audi turned me into a typical Audi driver.

Too early to see the guys at the rental office, so I post the keys. I check my base in, now weighing 12K thanks to the beer, but at security there is a snake of a queue. I could wait in line, then go to the lounge for free breakfast, or I could go to the cafeteria and get a roll and coffee there. I do the latter, and while I am eating, I can check mails and do some work.

BLL By the time I am finished, the queue has gone, so I can walk to the scanner, pop my bag and contents of my pockets into a tray, and be out the other side in two minutes.

I always thought that having a pass for the lounge would be great, but now that I had eaten, it offers just a comfy chair, free coffee and nibbles and fast wifi, but once you have the code it works everywhere. So I have a coffee, some coffee and granola, and do some more work, and so am all caught up by the time the flight is called, and I can stroll down to the gate, show my passport and join another queue waiting to get onto the plane.

Spring in Denmark Its not full, not quite, but I have my usual seat 8A, with clear views of the ground so I can take pictures. The engines start and we taxi away, the plane not pausing as it turns onto the runway, the pilot opens the throttles, and we skid across the piano keys, rushing down the runway and leaping into the air.

I take a shot of the Danish countryside before we get too high. The low sun casts long shadows, but it looks like spring even here, even if there was another frost that morning.

I turn down breakfast, as I had eaten already, and instead read my Rail magazine as we fly south, over Holland Belgium before crossing over to England. We pass over the London Array, more turbines (but not ours) before turning west and flying along the north Kent coast, dropping down.

Ninety four We were landing from the east, so no views over The City today, instead we drop low over the Dartford Crossing before one more time over the river and we are down. Nine o'clock. If we are quick, I might make the earlier train. But there is no ground staff about, so we wait for ground crew to get our bags, but they are nowhere to be seen. Tea break perhaps. And then once in the baggage hall, another wait while the cases are brought, meaning that by the time I get onto the DLR, time is tight.

The Hundred of Hoo THe train arrives at Stratford with 90 seconds to go, we wait to take our turn on the escalator, then cross the road, and as I near the ticket gates, I can hear the bleeping sound as the train doors open. If I try to get down there and miss it, I will be stuck on the platform for an hour, or I could go to the coffee shop for tea and a wad. I sigh, and go for a coffee instead.

Tilbury After the coffee, I walk into the shopping centre, looking at the variety of places offering food; Malaysian, Italian, Turkish, Chinese and French, and that is just in this small area. I browse round Foyles and buy Jools a couple of books, and still have 20 minutes to go. So I walk to the station and go down onto the platform to wait, taking a call from work while I stand watching the trains pass by.

Thurrock Mine pulls in, and being school holiday, it is busier than normal. But I get a seat, so can relax. I booked a taxi to pick me up from Dover, so I was home free. Or as good as.

The sun is shining here too, making Essex and Kent look glorious. To be honest, I can't wait to get home to survey the garden to see what has grown in the four days I have been away. There is an American family in the seats in front of me, and I thought they were going to explode when they saw the sea as we left Martello Tunnel. So that was nothing as to what they saw as we left Shakespeare Tunnel, with it being high tide, the sea came right to the sea wall. Good job I didn't tell them that the soil from Samphire Hoe came from under the sea....

Snake's head fritillary Fritillaria meleagris The taxi is waiting, and the driver had, apparently, been waiting weeks to see me, as he told me gleefully, he has orchid rosettes in his garden now. I am all ears, clearly; what colour are the leaves? Are they spotted? What shape are they? He doesn't know. Green. Dark green is the best he can do. Should I offer to go round to dig them up?

He drops me outside the house, and Scully comes out of the hedge where she had been lying in wait for unwary birds. Thankfully, we only have wary ones round here, so she hasn't caught one. I go inside, then straight outside to check on the garden, and especially the Snake's Head Fritillaries; the white ones are now out, and looking wonderful. But the Imperialis, are fading fast, how soon their time goes.

Snake's head fritillary Fritillaria meleagris THe garden checked, I make dinner, then have work to do, so turn the laptop on to get that out of the way. At three, my brain slowly melts, so I sit on the sofa and watch the recording of Sunday's football before it is time to think about dinner. Bangers and mash and beans seems to be the choice, in doing so uses up the last of the old stock of meat. So at five I get cooking, boiling the potaoes to a mush ready for mashing. Sausages are fried, and ready when Jools comes back, and there is exciting news I have to tell here: 90 balloons taking off in the morning. We HAVE to go to watch.

There is TOTP on TV and then a program on the history of the Ordnance Survey maps. More interesting that it should have been, but then I'm a map geek.

No comments: