Published: June 9th 2012May 29th 2012
Well it's that time of year again, when I head off to the Northern Hemisphere. I'm like a migrating bird heading north for the winter towards warmer weather. Quite true really, as I do hate the cold.
Another big 6 months coming up - but more of that later - back to my departure.
The last few weeks have flown by and after finishing my latest temp job last Friday, the few days leading up to my departure have really flown. Although my departure perhaps does not come fast enough for some, ie my house mate who takes every opportunity to remind me that when I am in residence he is unable to roam or lounge around the house in the nude. Not that you would want to do that activity at this time of year as we have been having a little cold snap that has blessed me with a little head cold that I hope to be rid of by flight time. Just last week I even purchased a pair of wooly slippers that have not been off my feet since. So, anyway M, you are now welcome to parade or whatever it is you do nude
around the house at your leisure without interruption by my presence.
May (happy birthday O!). My flight departs from Brisbane at xx.xx and my friend Robyn has kindly offered to take me to the airport. She arrives on time just after 10am. I think I’ve packed everything. In fact I’m positive I have literally packed everything as my suitcase is bulging to capacity. I’m allowed 23kg check in luggage on my Qantas flight and I’m sure this is pretty bloody close. Carry on should be 7kg, but I think it’s closer to 12kg, but I’m an expert at carrying over weight hand luggage and disguising it to look like it weights a smidgen over the weight of a butterfly wing!
Ok, bags in car, a quick hug to Ted (the cat) and keys left on the kitchen bench I lock and close the door. Ready? Robyn asks – yep let’s go I answer knowing we have heaps of time but better to get to the airport earlier rather than later. Next thing I notice is Robyn aging 10 years before my eyes as she turns the key and hears absolutely nothing. The car is dead, dead
as a door nail, not even a flicker of maybe going to start. Surprisingly I don’t panic (Robyn does!) I don’t even seem to be experiencing an elevated heart beat (I’m sure Robyn is!). Maybe this is an omen?! I’ve had an odd feeling for a while now that I was not actually going to leave on this trip. I didn’t even buy travel insurance until just days before departure which is odd for me as I usually have this organized as soon as my flight ticket is booked.
Robyn phones RACQ (roadside assistance) and I phone M as he is closer with jumper leads. They both arrive within minutes of each other and within half an hour the car is purring again with the addition of a brand new shiny battery. There was no traffic and our remaining trip to the airport went unhindered and I arrived in ample time. I hope by the time Robyn had returned home her stress levels and heart beat had returned to normal. Thank you again for the lift and you're welcome for the excitement. Lol
I hate airports – no not true, I don’t hate airports – I hate checking
in at airports. This is the stress time for me. Always worried that I have overweight luggage, which I suppose is the case 90% of the time when I fly. You would think that with this much experience I would have it down pat, but no, still none the wiser at packing/travelling light.
There are free luggage scales which I gently place my suitcase on. To my relief and surprise it comes in at just over 21kg – almost 2kg to spare. Yippee, this means I can transfer some of the weight from my 12kg carry on to the suitcase I will not have to worry about until I reach London. Second time on the scales it weighs in at 23.75kg – oh that’s almost 24kg, but I’m willing to risk they will accept that and they do! Stress level down a notch. My carry on is now down to 11kg – so my 12kg estimate was way off, but this I could handle. Bag size was within the limits.
I still have heaps of time so I give my brother O a call for his birthday. He wrote a reminder on my ‘to do’ list, but
Singapore airport is like a shopping mall
as if I would forget.
As there was no one to see me off or to share a coffee with I decide to head down to immigration and go sit at my boarding gate. Eeeekkkk, next sight I see shoots my stress level up to the roof again. Down stairs they are weighing everybody’s hand luggage. I have only ever encountered this with budget airline Ryanair. As I stand in line waiting my turn I am trying to think of the contents of my bag that I’d be willing to part with. I had a few clothes in there that I suppose I could put on , but I really don’t think I would get my outer pants back on if I had to wear my 3 pairs of spare underpants. And how comfortable would this flight be wearing 3 bras all at once? Great support, but really? Flying in the plane really is uplifting enough. Lucky for me someone just ahead had also over packed and was holding up the line by refusing to give up any of their weighty possessions. They started waving us through as they try to sort out the argument and my bag and
how can Bundy Rum be cheaper in Singapore than in Australia??
I slipped past looking as light weight as possible! Stress level down again.
Quick trip to the duty free where I purchased a bottle of Bundy rum to share with my host in London and I checked out the duty free price of the camera I had recently purchased on the internet. Happy when I saw that the price I paid was $350 less than the duty free price on offer here. Stress level gone!
The 7 hour flight Brisbane to Singapore was uneventful. I’d like to point out that Qantas is no better than Air Asia beside the fact that you get free entertainment. I watched a couple of movies, but the seats were just as cramped as the budget airline. Must say that the food on Qantas was shit compared to the meal you get on Air Asia even if you have to pay a couple of dollars for it. On the next leg Singapore to London they ran out of cooked breakfast by the time the cart reached my row (I was about 8 rows from the back). All they could offer was dry corn flakes as they had also run out of milk!! Do
one of the 'posh' aka most expensive schools in UK
you believe that!!
Killed 5 hours in Singapore airport by window shopping, painting my toenails and chatting with an English bloke who drove road trains in WA.
13 hour flight Singapore to London was long and boring. More movies, sleep and no breakfast.
My friend Dolly, who lives in London, had generously taken the day off work and collected me from Heathrow to spend the day and night with her. I wasn’t too jet lagged so we went back to her home and sat in the back garden with a cuppa and had a bit of a natter. wow I'd like to thank the UK for putting on such a lovely day for my first in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun was shining and the sky was blue and it was comfortably warm.
We decided to take advantage of the weather situation and went for a drive to Harrow and had a walk around the streets where almost every building make up part of the post Harrow school. Apparently, you have to give and arm and a leg to attend this school but the families that send their kids here can afford to pay someone else
to donate body parts and their little offspring attend unscalthed. Old buildings etc were beautiful but of course all of England is like this. We went for a look see into the library but were promptly ushered out being told this is a functioning library for the elite students and you pair of riff raff are disturbing the growing minds of Englands future elite. Oops sorry!
Since the weather stayed beautiful all day, later in the afternoon we went for a drive through a few country lanes (no we were not lost - Dolly assures me) and visited the local Hare Kristna Temple. Don't worry I'm not converting to this orange clad, bald headed, finger symbol religion, it's just that the temple was actually a beautiful big house set in lovely gardens that we could walk around and enjoy the outdoors. The Tudor style mansion was donated to the Hare's by none other than 'Beatle' George Harrison. The place is run by volunteers and donations and includes organic grown vegies that they use in the canteen and any excess is probably sold locally to keep this big house going. The gardens which included a fair size lake was lovely
and kept immaculate. Apparently it gets very crowded here on weekends when the general public can come and bring a picnic and enjoy the surroundings which included a big kids playground. Very unasumming religion. They offered us afternoon snacks, invited us to join in with the singing chant and not once was a hand held out for money or a religious conversation thrust upon us.
Time for dinner and Dolly suggested a place that I was introduced to during my last visit to UK. (thanks Lara!) Yes we dined at Toby's Carvery!! Yummy!! I managed to have my last minute fill of roast pork, baked ham and all the trimmings including a giant Yorkshire pudding! Perfect!
Back at home we cracked the bottle of duty free Bundy I had bought and more friends Tracey and Andy came around to say hello. Met them in Cambodia/Vietnam same time as we met Dolly. We only had a couple as had to be up at sparrows fart in the morning for my 7.55am fight.
Big thank you to you Dolly, I had a great stopover!!! And enjoy the rum!!
There are more photos below