Dust off the cobwebs – TOT is back
So, this journey could have been a reconnaissance mission for those travelling to the World Cup this summer? Or, it could have been a Cold War 007 spy mission. Trouble with that idea is that, unfortunately, we are asconspicuous as Denholm Elliot’s character in the Indiana Jones films – who Indy states will blend in, disappear – but is quickly caught by the Germans. Already, we have been self consciously fumbling for boarding cards, passports and generally trying to not look stupid self-checking in with BA. Oh, and coming onto BA who have now gone all EasyJet with their food and beverages, whatever happened to the ticket that comes with an onboard meal? All gone, I tell ya. Pay the same price as before but not even a pack of Walkers marmite crisps to see you on your way. I blame brexit (blame brexit for everything = default setting)
What you can and cannot change
Now, on this plane, we noticed a distinct lack of children. We have counted zero, unlike Alicante a few weeks back where the children outnumbered the parents. Ok, that’s an exaggeration but you get my drift. Lots of solemn faces boarding a craft to St P. Is this the sign of things to come? The news is full of anti-Russian stories. The new head of MI5 is apparently going to make a speech in Berlin today about how Russia is becoming a pariah state. Nice. Thanks for that. Let’s just add more coal to the fire between our countries. Don’t you know we are going on our holibobs? I’m not taking sides here at all and if there’s anything we have all learned in life is that you cannot brandish a people based on the decisions of those who make it into power. So, “Russia is this” and “Russia is that” is very unfair on their people just as if the same rhetoric came in the opposite direction would be deeply insulting to those of us that don’t agree with ‘the how’ and ‘the who’ runs our country. We are not policy makers and we are at least lucky that we have been born into a democracy. Anyhew, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, the plane.
We took off to blue skies, and who cannot love London on a blue sky day? Flying straight over Queen Mary reservoir and then turning east over North London. We saw Wembley, the London Eye, the Shard, the DRC and then the Thames washing away into the North Sea. As I write this, we have crossed northern Holland where there was a huge bridge spanning two peninsulas, a border between a huge lake and sea known as the IJsselmeer (a freshwater sea) below where, 30 years ago, I sailed in a Europa cup competition against 300 other boats. And further on, shades of deep green beneath us with the odd town splotched in between. Only 1023 miles to our destination.
The Griswalds on Holiday
2 hours later and everyone has got to know each other a little more. Michelle has just disturbed all the seats around us deciding (from her window seat) that she would quite like to get the speech she has prepared (in Russian) for our friends out of the overhead lockers. It’s never a good idea to open overhead lockers during a flight and as I gingerly flipped up the door, all the contents threatened to tip out. More stern faces all around us as I’m moving other people’s duty free bags out of the way, unloading the bag onto the floor and hoping I can get it back into place without injuring anyone. Yes, we can turn a drama into a crisis. I’ve settled back in my seat and thankfully the Bombay Sapphire we had earlier has done its job and I’m feeling on a different plain on the plane. BA also lose a star for not taking cash; so, those with cards that don’t work in their machines have a drink placed in front of them only to have to give it back because the cards been declined. I always feel for the stewardesses at this point. The buck stops with them. Big smile and lots of apologetic faces. Well, they can’t give the drink away for free can they? We would all want one! Stockholm to the north, Minsk to the south and 224 Miles to go.
How is Michelle getting on with her speech? She’s got her head down.
What’s the temperature in St P? -20? -30? -60? Nope, it’s 28 degrees C. Yes, 28 degrees!!!! That’s 10 degrees warmer than home in a country renowned for Baltic temperatures.
FYI, the image used on this post is from Day 2 and one of the horsemen carries the double headed eagle – the official emblem of Russia.