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Back to England

Posted on 2005/06/09 13:57:38 (June 2005).

[Tuesday 7th June]
Woke in my hotel room in Kansai airport about 7:30, had a shower, got my things together, and checked out just after 8. The hotel is exactly as airport hotels should be - within walking distance of the terminal - none of this shuttle bus nonsense. The airport was very busy, and I spent almost the entirety of the two hour check-in time standing in various queues. The flight left around 10. I hate flying, particularly by myself, and so I really wasn't looking forward to the 12 long hours of inescapable unpleasantness. Actually though, it wasn't too bad in the end. It was a modern plane, with screens in the back of each seat, and on-demand videos. There must have been about 100 films and TV programs to choose from which was great. From the selection of films I watched Meet the Fokkers, followed by Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. I hadn't seen the two Matrix sequels before, and have to admit I wasn't hugely impressed, but they did help to pass the time rather effectively, for which I am grateful. Meet the Fokkers wasn't exactly my cup of tea either - I think a lot of the American humour was lost on me. It probably didn't help that I'd watched an episode of Father Ted first - I really couldn't believe they had this in their line-up, I was absolutely over the moon. It was the episode called "Speed 3", which actually I hadn't seen before, and it was utterly, utterly hilarious. I guess Father Ted is just a very hard act to follow.
As I was flying with KLM I had to change at Amsterdam. I landed there about 2ish in the afternoon (9 at night Japanese time), and got on a connecting flight to London about 4ish. The final leg wasn't too bad either - it was a fairly smooth ride, and this little connecting flight is normally over before I know it (only about 45 minutes in the air). We flew into England over the Thames estuary I think, and it was a lovely clear day so there were some nice views to be had - I guess I ought to have taken some pictures. I have to admit, when I saw the metaphorical white cliffs, and green patchwork quilt landscape of England I started to well up. I realised this was actually the longest I'd ever been away from England - just over five weeks. It's strange really, some people spend years on end away from their home country without ever batting an eyelid, and here was me making a big deal over a month or so. It's at times like this when I realise, for all its faults, just how much I love this (to quote Jerusalem) "green and pleasant land".
We landed in London just after 4, before we'd taken off (aren't time differences great?), and I was leaving the airport by just before 5. For a change I thought I'd get on the Heathrow Express because I didn't want to mess about with bags etc on that seemingly endless Picadilly tube journey. I went to see my supervisor in London for aout an hour and a half, before heading to Paddington to get on a train to South Wales. Robin very kindly met me at Newport station, and I got to Abergavenny about 10:30 or so. I managed to stay awake for about an hour or so after getting to Vera and Robin's house. Vera gave me some bread and cheese, and a little glass of whisky for supper, and I was absolutely over the moon.

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