Reluctant Traveller – The Return

All neatly ensconced in an aluminium tube
All neatly ensconced in an aluminium tube

Reluctant Traveller – Part 2 – The Return

This blog will be published on Tuesday after I recover from the journey home.

Up at 0630 to prepare for the home leg to the UK.

And yes it did remind of the famous line from the film Good Morning Vietnam,

What does the ‘O’ stand for???

Anyway as readers may know travelling especially by air is something that I am not altogether comfortable with.

In fact it is something I could quite happily give up altogether was it not for the fact that I also like to go different places and meet the people who live there.

What I can say about the return trip, and here’s an unsolicited plug for P & O Cruises is how well organised and professional they are.

Immigration carried out at 0700 yesterday morning, luggage labels and boarding passes issued and all completed in less than 5 minutes.

Suitcases packed and taken away last night, (Friday) and will not be seen again until the carousel in Birmingham.

The problem, well it would be a problem if I wasn’t starting this blog sitting in 30 degrees of sunshine at 9.40 in the morning, is what to do with the rest of the day with disembarkation at 4 o’clock and a flight at 5.30.

Here’s the question,

If at a relatively small airport such as Barbados you only have to book in and wait 90 minutes before your flight why does it take twice as long in Birmingham?

We have pre-booked specific seats for the flight, highly recommended because you never know who you might find yourself sat next to – it could even be a grumpy traveller like me.

The reason I mention this is because someone may have to suffer the fate of having as a neighbour for over 8 hours a couple who have been noticeable for certain characteristics.

The first is that they invariably whenever we have seen them either been eating or drinking and usually both which may be the reason for their physical characteristics that of being on the large size.

The man has what I is called a ‘belly overhang’ which even the greatest climber on the planet would have difficulty negotiating if it was a rock face overhang.

To say that he and his wife had rather large lower and mid-body circumferences  would perhaps be too polite.

A minor digression.

If you are a ‘large’ person please don’t take offence (which of course means you should) but why is it that just about everything you read or see in the media is about dieting for women?

The one significant thing I’ve noticed in the past fortnight, apart that is that most of the human race should keep their clothes on, is that the number of overweight and ‘waist circumference’ challenged men far outweigh (pun intended) the women.

It was no more than a potential male heart attack convention afloat.

Interestingly last night when we got back onboard they were explaining, in the bar with food of course, to some new arrivals who are presumably excited to get their cruise underway tonight (Saturday) that they hadn’t been ashore throughout the whole trip.

Apparently the Caribbean people aren’t very friendly and they felt threatened.

What do we do with those who have oversized mid and lower body circumferences
What do we do with those who have oversized mid and lower body circumferences

How would they know if they haven’t met them, and for crying out loud, threatened by what?

The biggest threat to them was that of having a diet initiated and induced coronary.

I will be continuing these musing throughout the day but there may well be a very happy and satisfied holiday maker who this evening could have it all ruined by being sandwiched between the ****’s as I will now call them.

Worse still the ****’s could be sat behind or in front of us.

Disembarkation completed and we’re now on the way to Barbados Airport.

Arrival at the Airport suddenly raises a number of questions,

Firstly our hand baggage hasn’t been weighed and it appears our luggage that will go in the hold wasn’t weighed when it was taken from the ship last night.

Now those who read my earlier musings on being a reluctant traveller will know how vexed I get about the baggage regulations and here’s the thing,

We are on exactly the same aircraft as we came out on,

So can someone from the airlines explain,

Question 1. Everyone irrespective of who they are always brings back from holiday more than they take with them so if the weight was so “critical on the way out”?????

Question 2. Presumably the same people who came out are going back and it is estimated that on a two-week cruise people put on an average of 7lb in weight which means with 300 passengers on the aircraft it is carrying an extra 2100lb in weight???

The point is why have such a picky attitude in the UK?

Whew, the pilot, sorry Captain, who is called Tim, has just announced we will be flying ‘across’ the Atlantic so at least his intentions to avoid the sea is there.

For those who haven’t travelled on a Boeing 767-300 the seating arrangement are rows of two seat on either side with rows of three seats running down the middle of the aircraft.

I point this out because as those who have flown before know the seat space, and especially where you park your backside isn’t over generous in fact it is quite snug even for someone of an ordinary side.

This is of course relevant because the ****’s couple have just boarded and have been seated together in a two seats next to each other with which they don’t seem to happy.

The solution may be for one of them to exchange seats with another ‘average’ to ‘small’ size passenger so their natural physique can spread out a little, or conversely they may have to,

“Put up with it and go on a bloody diet when they get home”

I’m not sure where the errant back of the chair kicking child is sitting but we have an elderly couple from Birmingham sat behind us who have agreed to kick the back of Liz’s seat so she’ll feel that she can enjoy the flight.

Which reminds me, why is it that at airports around the world when boarding of your flight they always say,

“Enjoy you flight”?

Does anyone really enjoy a flight?

Enjoying arriving at a destination I can understand, like a good pint of Guinness, or seeing your team win, even spending time with the family, but enjoy being confined in a metal tube for hours on end?

I don’t think so.

We have just been provided with a free newspaper to read, fantastic.

This flight is going to Birmingham and is almost entirely made up of people from the Midlands, so I guess it’s appropriate that the newspaper is the Scottish Mail.

The time is now 10.36 UK time and helpfully we are told that we’re flying at 33,000 feet at 511mph landing in Birmingham in 7.36 hours time.

Oh, oh a baby has started crying, pass the anaesthetising gun.

Not for the baby,

For me you fool.

One of the  advantages of travelling overnight by air is that once the compulsory meal has been served the cabin lights are turned down and the MAJORITY of people go to sleep, doze or sit quietly.

So here’s the thing that is baffling me,

For the past two hours, and bear in mind it is now five in the morning, two women have been stood just behind me in the entrance to the rear galley talking about everything from their holiday, their children and their bloody ailments.

Now I don’t want to come across as being totally curmudgeonly but the reason they discussed for coming to the rear of the plane to talk is because very noble as it may be,their husbands are asleep and they didn’t want to disturb them!!!!

But it’s alright to disturb a whole lot of strangers then?

It isn’t selfishness just a complete lack of thoughtfulness.

I just wonder how long it will be before the majority of people after spending time prepared to talk to everyone and anyone about anything while on holiday revert to type and go back into the typical British shell of being reserved?

What talk to someone I don’t know?

A complete stranger?

Are you mad?

I have at least been able to complete two musings on our Special Relationship with the Americans and How Weird is having a Massage.

Message for Thomson First Choice - This is not an excellent breakfast
Message for Thomson First Choice – This is not an excellent breakfast

And now the pièce de résistance of the overnight journey, with only 80 minutes to go before touching down in Birmingham the airline breakfast is about to be served.

Interestingly we seem to have become exhibits in a kind of cylindrical aluminium tube because we have been told we are about to be fed an excellent breakfast.

Sorry to be awkward but animals are fed,

I am only too happy to feed Barney but unless someone is going to cut my food up and feed it to me on a spoon, something I hope my life will never come to, then I’ll be served food and feed myself if that’s alright.

My days of hearing or saying “open wide, train coming through the tunnel” are well behind me.

Oh, what disappointment, the ladies are going back to their seats to wake their husbands for breakfast.

How kind and thoughtful of them.

Breakfast consisting of a bacon roll and carton of orange juice is now being issued with only 20 minutes to touch down, the cabin staff are looking harassed and this could be touch and go.

The funniest thing has just happened that while breakfast is still being issued an announcement has just been made to put our trays back up, do our seat belts up and prepare for landing in 10 minutes.

Cabin staff are now rushing around trying to collect the rubbish before landing, this is farcical bearing in mind that we have been in the air for over 8 hours.

Not a great advert for the organisation of Thomson/First Choice.

That’s it then back on British soil and after the inevitable and interminable wait at the carousel which yes did breakdown we’re heading for the exit to collect the car and home to Northampton.

Give Us a Warning if you're going to stp
Give Us a Warning if you’re going to stop

Following fellow passengers towards the baggage collection area something happens that perhaps someone can explain to me.

I don’t think I’m in any way sexist and in fact I fully accept two basic principles where women are concerned.

The first is that they can multi task better than men and the second that the statistical evidence showing women are better drivers than men is both valid and reliable.

The combination of both allows them to instinctively be aware of what is around them which when in control of a vehicle helps to make them safer drivers.

So why is it that when they are ‘walking’ all of those instincts suddenly desert them and without warning they just ‘stop’ and not only stop but ‘stop’ in the narrowest point wherever they are so that everyone else has to avoid them or back up?

Worse still if they happen to be in deep conversation with others they all instinctively stop at the same time.

They don’t do it when driving a car so what happens when they’re walking and especially if they are pushing a trolley?

They should be a made to wear a tabard with ‘DANGER MAY STOP SUDDENLY WITHOUT WARNING’ on the back.

And if you think I’m joking have a look and see what happens the next time you’re in a supermarket.

It is an almost supernatural ability,

“Look we have trolley, there’s a narrow point let’s suddenly stop and have a chat”.

“Oh sorry, are we in the way”?????????????

Yes you are actually.

Holiday over, awake for over 24 hours so I think it’s time for a nap.