Thursday, 14 January 2016

En route to Nice...

I'd planned to use public transport to reach London Heathrow Terminal Five and, to be frank, it was much easier than I had anticipated. The train into town from where I live was fine – it was just gone 0730hrs and I still managed to get a seat – and then the tube journey was sort of fine, bar a couple of potential hassles. The first was a huge queue of people at the top of the stairs near the entrance to the Victoria Line. My plan was to travel to Green Park and get the Piccadilly Line all the way to Heathrow.

The problem I encountered was some kind of mechanical failure involving trains to Brixton (David Bowie's birthplace). They were not running so a huge crowd of people gathered. I was told to take the District Line, which I did, changing at South Kensington for the rest of the ride. The next problem was the signage on the platform: it didn't correspond with the destination on the front of the train. If the board said that the next train was for Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 and 5, the train said it was going to Rayners Park and then, when you got on the train, the female voice from the train's internal intercom said something completely different.

Heathrow's Terminal 5 – arguably the London airport's best terminal
I jumped on a Northfields train (after hesitating on the platform and allowing, potentially, two or three Heathrow-bound trains to come and go) and sure enough, the female voice informed me that the train was going to Terminals 1 to 4, but not 5. I decided to get on board, get closer to my destination and then, should there be any real problems, I'd simply get a cab from somewhere drab like Hounslow Central or Osterley. I jumped off the train at the former and waited just three minutes for a train to Terminal Five.

Right now, as I write this, I'm sitting in Terminal Five's Starbucks having enjoyed a medium-sized tea with a caramel shortbread. I know, I shouldn't have, but all rules go out the window at airports in my book. In fact, flying in general sees the rule book thrown out of the window. If I'm on an early morning flight, leaving, say, at 0900hrs, I'll quite happily ask for two of those small bottles of red wine to accompany my chocolate Hob Nobs or whatever culinary delight they happen to be serving up. In the 'olden days' all flights offered breakfast in a heated foil container, but those days are long gone. Today, snacks are the order of the day so I figured I'd be better off going to Starbucks, ordering tea and a 'millionaire's shortbread' – the generic term for this type of confection – and taking pot luck when I get on the plane.

Prior to finding myself in the ubiquitous American coffee outlet I sailed through security – it's so much easier at T5 than anywhere else I've been. The whole place seems calm and orderly and, within a matter of minutes, I was in my favourite place – beyond passport control, that No Man's Land of duty-free goods, expensive perfumes, raffles for top-of-the-range sports cars and big brand name fashion retailers. I avoid them all like the plague, not being in the slightest bit interested in 'having the right stuff'. In my view, everything is 'designer' even if it doesn't say so. My M&S green cords must be have been designed by somebody, it's just that whoever designed them is clearly not as accomplished as Tommy fucking Hilfigger. Still, they do the job; they enable me to walk around in public without exposing my genitalia to unsuspecting members of the public, something I'd be virtually forced to do if, for some strange reason, I wasn't wearing a pair of trousers. I wear clothes because I have to, they're either to keep me warm or to cover me up and at this time of year they perform both functions. Not that I am in any way suggesting that during the warmer months I can be spotted without trousers.

It's quite a pleasant day. There are thin grey clouds and blue skies beyond and I'm sitting looking out at many British Airways jets that are parked up at various gates awaiting their passengers. One of them is probably mine, but I won't know yet as I got here miles too early and have to kill time – one reason why I'm glad I bought my laptop. Being early also justifies my millionaire's shortbread and medium tea.

Despite the number of people that must populate Terminal Five, it's not in the slightest bit 'noisy'. I'm wondering who I'm going to see milling around. Normally I spot a 'celebrity' – on previous occasions I've seen Miranda Hart and Jimmy Somerville. Who, I wonder, will it be today? As long as they're not shouting 'God is Great!' I don't really care.

The world is full of nutters
I woke up this morning to hear that there had been a terrorist attack in Jakarta, Indonesia. Suicide bombers and gunman had gone on the rampage and, of course, so-called 'Islamic State' are the chief culprits. At the time of writing, I'm not exactly sure of the situation, but online news reports are saying that at least seven people are dead following a co-ordinated bomb and gun assault and that there have been several large explosions across the city.

There are plenty of crazy people on the loose in the world, but fortunately for a Mrs Davidson of Fruitland Park, Florida, USA, her husband Keith is not one of them. Keith is currently being held at Lake County Jail on a charge of battery.

According to news reports, he got so furious when he discovered that the house had run out of jam that he used his wife's head as a mop. Mr Davidson flew into a rage while looking for jam to add to his peanut butter sandwich, couldn't find any and then engaged in a heated exchange with Mrs Davidson who, during their 'discussion' accidentally spilt milk on the floor. Keith then took the meaning of crying over spilt milk a little too far, and decided to use his wife's head to clear up the resulting mess. She later called the cops who found 'significant bruising' on the woman. One has to ask, what IS the world coming to?

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