16 April, waiting at departures gate B04.
Seems the walky talkies are broken so the crew are having to shout accross the runway and around the gates to communicate:
gate-man to pilot: "STATUS CHECK CAPTAIN!, TEN MINUTES TO BOARDING"
pilot: "WE GOT THE SOGGY SARNIES, WE'RE WE'RE JUST WAITING FOR THE RED WINE TO GET PROPERLY CHILLED, IT'LL BE A GOOD HALF HOUR YET"
Gate-man to departure desk: "THEY'VE BROUGHT WARM WINE AGAIN, BLOODY BELGIANS, WE'LL BE TWENTY MINUTES LATE."
Desk to passengers": "LADIES AND GENEAL MEN!! THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TO FLY WITH BADGER'S ARSE, THE MINIMUM WAGE AIRLINE. WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR FLIGHT!! WE REGRET TO ANNOUNCE THERE WILL BE A FIVE MINUTE DELAY DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES!"
Passengers in unison: "FIVE MINUTES? THAT'S NOT EVEN LONG ENOUGH FOR A PISS, EVEN IF I COULD FIND THE TOILET IN THIS RIDICULOUS RATS WARREN"
desk: "THE TOILETS ARE CLEARLY MARKED, YOU DOZY FUCKWIT!"
passengers: "WHO ARE YOU CALLING A DOZY FUCKWIT? YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME? YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME? COME AND GET IT!!"
desk: "EVERYBODY FREEZE! LET HIM WHO IS NOT ON EXPENSES CAST THE FIRST STONE! OR I'LL EXECUTE EVERY LAST MUTHAFUCKING ONE OF YOU!"
gate-man: "OK, OPEN THE GATES!"
desk: "WE ARE NOW BOARDING ROWS ONE TO FOUR, THE REST OF YOU CAN TRY IT ON IF YOU'RE IN THE MOOD"
Finally we shuffled onto the plane. I was two rows behind the good seats, just enough to hear the clanging of cutlery while I struggled with the vacumm packed remains of what allegedly was once a chicken, now presented in a suspiciously strong sauce and enough coriander to induce wretching in a very large dog. This, I would like to wash down with a cuppa, so I grabbed one of the tiny milk tubs, pulled the tab and sprayed uht all over the back of the middle seat (I've really lost count of the number of times I've done that). Luckily, the middle seat was empty but the man in the aisle noticed, he glanced at me but I was too busy cleaning. I could've told him he had milk on his trousers and shoe, but I decided against it. He was drinking chilled red wine, the philistine!
Eventually, the flight went without too much perspiration and I skipped the trapesing across London to find myself at the Hilton. A surprisingly ordinary hotel. After far too long struggling with the internet connection, I noted my Service Desk ticket number and retired to the bar to watch cricket - are rare pleasure these days. With Australia on 121 for 3, I returned to my room to find the internet stubbornly indifferent so I called the past-helpdesk again. They delightedly informed me they'd decided to fast-track my solution and move me to another tomb. The bit between the lines says they didn't have a clue, so they gave up trying to fix it and just moved me to a room where the connection works, ok whatever.
I had to pack everything again to move thirty metres and get a t.v. dinner.
There ends the first installment but there was one other unethpectded twist that might lay waste to this whole adventure yet...
(this story is based on true and factual events, some of which are made up, but the rest of it's true)