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The blog has been quiet for a few months.  I’ve been busy over the summer with a range of things, most of it being outside and not leaving the time I would like for blogging.  In some respects it feels unfair and repetitive to start off with another holiday series about the ranch when there hasn’t been much inbetween, but that’s the way the land lies sometime.  Hopefully it will be as enjoyable as the other series.  Once it’s done there will be blogs on other things that I have lined up.  So, to quote a Vorlon ‘And so it begins’.

There are times when I wish there were flights to a wider destination in the US at my local airport.  The  fact that Heathrow seems to be the main option in the south means that you have to play a lottery.  That  lottery is the M25 and today I did not have any lucky numbers.  Stuck on the M25 when you can see planes taking off from Heathrow, especially when you can see the clock ticking down is not fun.  The traffic moves slower and stops more often.  The clock ticks by faster.

I’m not saying that I shouldn’t have been in that situation, but the issue of time had started much earlier.  First thing in the morning to be exact.  It was bin day.  Bin day used to not be an issue.  Bin emptied early by whatever it is that bin men are now called, but not too early that it would wake you.  However things have changed and now it’s often after leaving for the day.  Normally not an issue, but let’s be fair, if you’re going to be away for awhile then leaving a waste bin outside and on the street is bad news.  First off it sends a message that no one is in, which for a week is in desirable.  Second is that it will incur the wrath of the council who will send a missive informing you of how naughty you have been.  To be honest I’m not sure which is the least favourable option.

My plan of driving straight from work was therefore scuppered somewhat with the bin not being emptied as per usual.  I would have to head back, hopefully breifly to tidy up, but it wouldn’t be an issue, I’d allowed plenty of time.

Meetings at work are always dangerous when you need to leave on time.  Sometimes it’s the meeting itself.  On this occasion it was the results of the meeting.  Having finished on time I was then left with a number of things that I now needed to do before leaving.  Suddenly things were not looking so good.  I’d still left plenty of time, so providing the traffic was ok, it wouldn’t be too stressful.

I now come full circle, pardon the pun, to the M25.  I’m aware of the time I need to get to the airport for in relation to dropping my back and know that once I get to the parking area it’s still going to be a bit of time to get to the airport.

Happily I made the airport with about 20 mins to spare for check in time, but realised that things could be a rush for security and the the duty free I wanted.  Being told that 50% of the security areas were being shut is about as welcome in an airport when tie is short as, well I’m sure you can come up with your own analogy.  Thankfully I’m quite speedy on my I feet without having to run, so hot footing it to the other end of T5 became the priority before the queues became too long.  I feel sorry for the staff at that end of the terminal.  They were about to have a very sudden influx.  Thankfully I beat the crowds and after a short delay with people messing around needlessly I was though.  However by now the plane was showing as boarding.  It’s always embarrassing being the last on the plane and being the reason for its delay. Now the flight I was on didn’t have a good departure rating for being on time but it was my luck that that today it was breaking the mould.

I’m not a gambler, but I figured I would still have time if the queues on the way (currency and duty free) weren’t too bad.  This time I was being looked upon favourably, but even then it seemed that every transaction took forever.  Thankfully I wasn’t last on the plane.  I was however able to walk straight up to the gate desk and straight through without any waiting.  This was novel and pleasant, but the process to get there I have to say I can’t recommend.

I’d mentioned earlier that the flight was unusually timely and once on board I knew it would take too long before we were underway.  This however changed.  I’ve always found BA cabin crew to be very helpful and having finally boarded, having rushed a certain amount, I needed some water.  This was not a problem and I was able to fill up a number of time to cool down.  I was even offered an early cup of tea but the water was fine.  With take off approaching I felt I should make my way back to my seat, and this was where the delay became apparent.

There has always been one thing about flights that has confused me since childhood.  This is the issue of the missing passenger.  On this occasion we had just that.  I have no idea what the problem was, but we were told by the captain that ‘one passenger was electing not to join us on the flight’.  I always wonder why this happens.  I suspect there are a number of good reasons, but it’s something that always puts me on edge.  We now had to wait for the bags to be offloaded (and I assume a number of bags to be put back on).  In the end we took off about 30 mins late which I’ll take as close to on time.  On an 8 hour flight, that can be made up.

The plane itself is one of the Dreamliners.  These have had bad reviews, but I would have to say that I found it no worse than any of the other planes I’ve flown on across the pond.  It leaves me wondering what sort of luxury people are wanting when it comes to travelling in economy.

Despite the delay, the plane was more or less on time and after a bit of a wait for baggage (security was the quickest I’ve ever experienced and faster than getting back into the UK). I was in the US.  There was a reason for the speed on entry this time as I was staying elsehwere first.  The ranch was still a 36 hours away.  In the meantime I had a day and a bit to spend in New York and New Jersey.  What was even better was I had a great view!

Night Pan

It was close to about 3am on my body clock, so I needed to get some rest.  I’d probably wake early anyway, but I’d managed to last a decent amount of time into the evening for it not to be too early to call it a night.  Revisiting the city was the plan for some of tomorrow and I wanted to be rested for that.