Travelling & London – day 252 (J)

I missed the fight scene in the mountains and the end sequence of Spectre, drifting in and out of a restless sleep. The chairs were comfortable, but the people in front and behind must have been dreaming of being in a roller-coaster, bouncing up and down constantly. There then followed an announcement over the intercom looking for a doctor to help a sick passenger. Now, I’m not a doctor, (although a job with a nurses’ outfit might be nice), but I went and spoke to a cabin crew member to offer help. I remember how it must have been 15 years ago I was on a flight with my dad, coming back from London, having just completed an Oxygen Provider course and they needed to set up the O2 cylinder during the flight. It would have been really cool to be able to set up the oxygen and help, with the patient suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis in the leg, but alas, I think they wanted someone more legit. Finally arriving in Cologne, the sick passenger was taken off and then a stream of disgruntled passengers disembarked… only to be part of more and more queuing and waiting at passport control, baggage reclaim and then the German Wings ticket desk.

Although exhausted, I must have been one of a few that wasn’t complaining (or reminiscing about a ‘Gap Year’). The wifi in the airport was brilliant and the 2 hour queue went by relatively painless. The staff at the desk, having come in on a day off, were fantastic. They were putting people on a 07:05 flight to Stansted if there was space, a 15:45 flight with a free hotel and taxi voucher, or a flight to Heathrow at 08:30 with a €12 food voucher. It was a no-brainer! Get in to Heathrow, a much more convenient airport for me, with the whole day ahead of me, and a voucher for some breakfast. SCORE!!!Katherine had arrived safely down under. The Whatsapp and FB messages come quicker than my brain could function and we even managed a Skype call. Tracey had put together a wicked sign for the arrivals lounge and a Aussie Starter Pack. I mention it here on this blog entry as I am sure the subtlety will be noted and I shall receive an equally warm welcome and snacks in three weeks time.

Flight to London with a bit of a snooze, everything seemed so straight forward and simple – the familiarity and ease of getting through the terminals, an X26 express bus and the streets all being exactly the same. It was a surreal and unnerving feeling and was glad to arrive at Ed and Narae’s. But, at this stage my brain was mush. I didn’t read the texts from Narae properly and headed out to buy food and top up the Oyster card. There was several ‘Brain Fart’ moments when I locked the pin on the debit card, having not used it in 8 months, and the choice of food in the co-op was so overwhelming I just went for soup and bread. It was only after eventually figuring out how to work the hob that I had noticed my choice of lentil soup and pitta bread was altogether reminiscent of Dal Bhat and Chapatti. I shall rectify this with a Cornish Pasty and proper coffee tomorrow and start cracking on with my list of jobs.

Wednesday 15th June 2016

Melbourne – day 252 (K)

Managed to get about three hours (light) sleep before waking up to the annoying girl shuffling around in her sleep next to me. Unable to get any more shut-eye, I watched the sun rise through the tinted windows of the plane and read my book as the air stewards gradually began waking people up in preparation for landing. Having arrived on time, I sailed through Australian immigration although, disappointingly, no visa stamp in my passport… Having watched ‘Border Control’ back in the UK, I was incredibly excited to see signs saying that they were filming for the new series. Having also seen the Australian customs be extremely tough on the TV show with imported items, I declared my Toblerone chocolate and my shoes (that may or may not have had traces of Nepalese dirt on them) on my immigration form. Directed to lane number 2 after picking up my bag to be searched by the guard only to be laughed at when I explained my food item was a chocolate bar and my shoes had already been cleaned. So, I clearly won’t be on an episode of ‘Border Control’ but at least I’d declared everything properly – it is their problem now if my Toblerone bar is harbouring some unknown virus… As I walked through the exit doors looking for Tracey, I suddenly saw a huge sign saying ‘Ninja’ running towards me. A stranger spotted it first, stating ‘that’s a big sign!’ as I said ‘it’s mine!’ before running to give Tracey a massive hug. 
Had a coffee at the airport and finding out that Jayne had just arrived in Cologne, Tracey and I chatted non stop. So much so, that it took us forever to leave the airport car park as we kept getting distracted and confused following the random ‘exit’ signs. Slightly disappointed by the lack of kangaroos on the road (which looks very similar to the Irish countryside), it suddenly dawned on me that I was in Australia! The furthest away I have ever been from home… EVER! Chatted the 2 hour drive to Shepperton away, looking through my ‘welcome to Australia’ gift pack and, in what seemed like minutes, we were parked up outside the house. Met the absolutely huge, but gentle, Chilli and had some lunch (ah, cheese! I have missed you so much!!) before heading out for a car tour around town. Had a cup of coffee around Tracey’s parents house (sampling her dads home made saki – it’s delicious but potent!) before coming back to the house to have a shower and get into my new fleecy pyjamas (thanks Tracey!).Spent the rest of the evening eating cheese, drinking wine, watching movies and catching up. Feels weird to finally be here in Australia but equally feels like I’ve been here forever. Missing Jayne so much – can’t what till she gets here. 20 days to go!

Wednesday 15th June 2016