Well, someone suggested a vicarious TR
, this is my dear old mum’s epic trip from Norfolk (UK) to AKL
The taxi turned up at 05:50, it’s a bloody long way to Heathrow from the middle of nowhere, I live in a market town currently being re-populated by Portuguese refugees…I don’t get it, Brits pay good money to go on holiday in Portugal, they buy holiday homes and live there until their E111’s can’t take the pressure anymore, people don’t do this in Somalia, Somalian refugees I can understand but Portuguese???? WTF? As my no2 son, Jafa39 would say…WTF, indeed but there you go, it has nothing to do with the story but I do like to include background information.
Speaking of which, my biggest fear wasn’t terror attacks over the Atlantic, some bearded chap in brown shoes setting fire to his laces or pulling the pin on 20 kgs of C4 fake cellulite, no, uppermost in my mind was how the boys would manage to run the factory without the “Terminator” to gee them up, or my workaholic hubby to set an example of how to work until you drop but as Jafa39 would tell me in one of his cryptic e-mails….”F***k it all mother, if they screw up you can sack them all, if they screw up REALLY bad you can claim on the insurance, enjoy your life for once”
So, we shivered out to the taxi and he plaintively revealed that he had a slow puncture and we would have to go to the depot and get a new cab (And where, pray tell, was the SPARE TYRE?????) Never mind, he swapped his beigemobile for a big f***k off 9 seater Ford, which pleased hubby immensely, anything under 3 litres bores him.
I got a txt from my second born, asking when we were leaving, I told him the story and for the next few miles he regaled me with advice on how not to die a slow horrible death on long-haul flights, he thinks he’s cool because he knows what LHR
means, d’uh, was I or was I not born yesterday?? Moi? Je suis également frais!
He mentioned he would be tracking my flight in and out of LAX
on some web site for geeks like him, I called him a voyeur and we carried on through the frozen dawn (-2C) on the first of many legs to NZ
“Are you there yet?” another txt from the boy, I told him we were undergoing ordeal by congestion, the M25 was a carpark, no doubt caused by people queuing for petrol because they hadn’t read the bit in the tabloids that mentioned it was jet fuel that was filling the skies with toxins up at Buncefield…… “Bunce” that’s a strange name for a place, “Bunce” means back-hander or bribe, now that might explain why Jafa’s online “Friend” PilotKaz I think he said, lives in a house uncomfortably near the oil depot, someone bribed somebody methinks but methinks too much, that son of mine says thinking is the cause of most of my problems, I’m not sure, someone has to do it!
My nephew, also my legal guardian, is on this trip with us, he still hasn’t got his 14 year old mind round the fact that we are actually going halfway round the world to spend Christmas with “Uncle Andrew” he has never been on a jet but this seems to pale into insignificance at the chance to actually set foot on “Mt Doom”, bless.
“Let me know the rego of the plane”…That son of mine clearly doesn’t have enough work to do, why is such a thing important? Still it was the names of dinosaurs when he was little and motorbikes after that…somewhere in between he was obsessed with a band called “Sparks”…..didn’t like them, looked like a pair of willie-woofters if you ask me but after that regrettable incident with that Grimes girl I didn’t worry about his sexual orientation anymore….opening that letter must have been a terrible shock to her mother, silly cow, shouldn’t read kids letters unless one is VERY broadminded!!!
I texted Andrew to inform him that LHR
was in sight and to confirm that it was T3
we needed (The taxi driver was having a panic about it and it didn’t say anything on the tickets).
Eventually we de-taxied and headed into what Andrew describes as “The zoo that is LHR
” hubby put his back out last week, trying to make a fortnights supply of doors so the lads wouldn’t have to worry too much about production targets, so we sat in the “Sit here if help needed” area, a Hostess came over (I think Andrew calls them FA
’s?)..sad little geek, what’s wrong with “ Air Hostess????” and put us at the front of the queue, we had hoped for a window seat, they gave us 54 A, B & C, apparently you all need to know this or you will stop reading and stamp off in disgust to look at “Airlinemeals.com” or something like that…or be forever consigned to “Tech/Ops”..is that SUCH a bad thing? he takes his RR
very seriously it seems, god, I get enough of this “Respec”” bullshit from the snot-nosed ASBO wielding, dispersal-order Chavs in the village, you’d think at 44 he’d have got a life??
After that we had slight “moment” at the X-Ray machine involving the nephew’s belt buckle and hubby’s chewing gum, obviously you can’t hide enough plastic explosive in a death-metal skull and a packet of Wrigley’s to do much harm and we were waved through by a chap who looked devastated that he couldn’t find an excuse to probe our nether regions with a torch and a pair of rubber gloves, eeeuuuwwww!
The plane was ZK
-SUI and you should all be aware that it is a re-fitted 744R, or you haven’t been paying attention to NZ1’s posts….I’m confused now, I thought NZ1 was the flight number, is he/she/it a living being too???
Whatever the truth of the matter the plane was very clean inside and the little telly’s looked like they might be able to keep even the nephew’s ADHD at bay for the better part of the Atlantic, been a few years since I last flew the pond but if recall it is a bit of a bore, no tiny telly’s in those days, hell, I believe the pilot’s still wore goggles and the Hostesses had skirts so short they barely covered the watermark!!!
We stuck the nephew in the window seat, I took the middle and hubby had the aisle so he could ease his dodgy back/hip if need be.
I took the magic homeopathic remedy and settled back with my packet of biscuits and a good read, the Dali Lama……
Hubby and the nephew seemed impressed with the acceleration, and so they would, they have penises.
We hadn’t been in the air all that long before it was deemed necessary to feed us, and it was very nice too, the staff…FA’s? were all very friendly and the selection of video games was of a high enough standard to keep the nephew amused, he even uttered a collection of monosyllabic grunts that I took to mean “This, Nanny-Annie is a veritable cornucopia of top quality electronic entertainment” something my son (Jafa39) would have condensed to “Choice”…WTF??
The boredom didn’t get us, there was too much to do, the remotes for the TV
’s worked the games if turned sideways and became a telephone if turned over, I resisted the urge to extend our overdraft by calling Andrew and announcing “We’re over Greenland!” he would no doubt ask all sorts of technical and geeky questions that would either confuse or bore me, so I contented myself with more of the D.Lama’s wisdom, we got given a snack at some point and as per Andrew’s instructions and dire prophecies we took turns in doing our exercises and strolling about the plane.
About 2 hours out of LAX some little sprog near the back started to wail and managed to keep us serenaded thus until we touched down in LAX
, the air really is pink and the urban sprawl looks like the opening credits to a bad 70’s movie about Afro-haired detectives and white men with Engelburt Humperdink sideburns.
Apparently “Superfly” will know what I mean.
I know my son is prone to exaggeration but his description of LAX
as a “Shithole of some magnitude” was correct, it is a peeling, dirty dump of a place and I was expecting to be harassed by the Security chaps but being herded into a corridor, photographed, fingerprinted, scowled at and then herded back onto the plane seemed a little over-zealous considering none of us was officially IN
America, nor possessed the slightest inclination so to be.
As we de-planed the FA
’s mentioned that we should take all our hand luggage with us as “The cleaners were contractors and independent of Air NZ
”, read what you like into that!!
Once our humiliation by security was complete and we were safely back on the plane we all felt a bit more relaxed, I had resisted the urge to point out the obvious flaws in the American response to Terror Threats (from New Zealand?? Get real boys) the nephew wasn’t on any terror lists and hubby’s usual discharge of fibreglass fumes hadn’t excited the drug dogs, nothing bar a complete disaster was going to come between us and Auckland.
They fed us again, but by this time the Nephew, after having declared “I’ll never be able to sleep” was out like a light, even waving his favourite lasagne under his nose couldn’t rouse him, so he must have been really out.
We held on to his food as long as the pretty “FA” would allow us but he still sat there, like a bump on a log, and by this time hubby was in the land of nod, I reclined my seat, fiddled about with the cushion and drifted off into a half-life, it was dark, and it was the second leg of an epic journey, sleep or death, either would have done but I made do with a sort of transcendental state…my fault for reading the Dali lama.
At some point, after 6 hours of blissful sleep (bastard) hubby awoke and noticed a light, far below us on the sea, we speculated on what it might be and the nephew woke up too, just in time for his medicine, he doesn’t take Ritalin and never has but the stuff he does take is very necessary in a setting where buggering off with dog on leash and skateboard under arm are not an option.
God, it’s a long, long way to NZ
, we were getting near the end of our tethers when they brought round breakfast, I looked at my watch and found I had lost the ability to calculate time differences, it certainly wasn’t breakfast time in England and I had no idea where we were as the maps weren’t functioning at this point, I was still stuffed from the halfway snack but I thought I’d better eat it in case Jafa and Mrs Jafa had become fruitarians, or were living on millet or something else unpalatable, it wasn’t likely but one is best to meet an uncertain fate as prepared as possible, why in that case had I never thought to meet my daughter’s boyfriends with the family 12-bore slung carelessly over one arm? Oh well, one lives and one hopefully, learns, at my age a portable time-travel device would come in handy, there are a few weeds in the gene-pool I wouldn’t mind culling.
But hark! A change of engine note and a distinct bout of “downwards” precipitated a nose bleed and I mopped up as best I could whilst quelling the urge to vomit and got to grips with the butterflies, I hadn’t seen my 2nd-born for nearly 3 years and didn’t want to spoil the occasion by weeping all over him……he’s not that sort of boy, never has been, all deep undercurrents and stern calm, oh he does get animated, it’s a family trait but he isn’t prone to displays of naked emotion, just the odd raised eyebrow or that camel-like look down his nose. I used to wonder who was the parent when he was younger, I think it may be because of the time I cried my eyes out at the sight of an atom bomb being tested when I was pregnant, it must have warned him of the trying times that were to face us all.
So, all that notwithstanding we swung a huge banking turn over the sea, “Whoa Neddy” I yelped inwardly as the huge wing pointed to the gods but we straightened up again and, bless him, the Pilot put the huge plane down onto the runway without a hint of a bump, an amazing experience, even to a cynical old crone like me.
We taxied over to the terminal, grateful that this mammoth journey was at an end.
was a delight after LAX
, we were offered free coffee (Yes please!!) and staff took the time to ask us how we were and wished us an enjoyable stay, unlike LAX
I felt the Kiwi’s were actually pleased to see us.
After wading through customs we merged into the Arrivals hall and there was Andrew, wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt, “Boardies” and oddly enough, no shoes, funny boy……………………………
[Edited 2005-12-21 11:02:43]
[Edited 2005-12-21 11:04:36]
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....