Last night I was supposed to meet Kim at Heathrow after a flight from Aberdeen at a bit after 7 PM. The first
In the meantime I was starting my drive to Heathrow expecting storms and floods. [according to the traffic reports a number of areas of north London on my route home were flooded and closed.] In fact there was no rain 'till I reached the outskirts of London and that was quite light. Having arrived at terminal one I stopped in the set-down area and rang the British Airways customer service number. After a short fight with an automatic voice-activated system I got the news that Kim's flight had landed about an hour earlier. So I tried phoning her mobile but got no response. Since I couldn't leave the car where it was without the risk of getting it clamped I moved on into the official short-term car park. This seemed to have half of it shut for rebuilding, half of it full of parked cars and the remaining spaces occupied by drivers looking for somewhere to park. The only empty spaces I eventually found were on the roof section ... the last place I looked of course.
I went in to the terminal and looked for arrivals information ... the efficient and helpful information systems *heavy sarcasm* provided no information at all about Kim's flight! Eventually I found a BA customer service guy who had to go away to answer my question about the status of the flight but a few minutes later he came back and assured me that it was on finals and would be touching down soon. Oh good, I though and went off to read a book. A few minutes later kim phoned - the plane had touched down about an hour and a half prreviously and was waiting for a stand to become free so the could deplane! Until then they'd not been allowed to use their mobiles in case they interefered with the plane's systems. *sigh* When will airlines realise that they need to give clear, concise and accurate information to people? Truth to tell I wasn't that badly off - one guy there was waiting to meet an unaccompanied child from a trans-atlantic flight and he'd had no information about what was going on 6 hours after the plane had landed!!!
Not all that long after this Kim and I actually met, complete with her luggage (which is a whole other story - time and space prevents me from including the details in this post but think of the bag always being at least one stop behind Kim and you'll get the picture.) Then it was a short drive round to my flat, avoiding the flooded areas on the route I sometimes use and sticking to motorways for as long as possible. It was then that I discovered my next "opportunity" - I'd left the keys to my flat back in Cardiff *grrrrrrrraaaaaaaagggggggghhh*
My sister has a spare set of keys ... but she's on holiday in Greece this week. I phoned my Mum up - fortunately just before she'd gone to bed - and asked her if Mary's keys were there. She thought not, but we went over anyway to check. After yet another short drive we got there to find Mum slightly grumpy, understandably, and we checked some sets of keys. Eventually we found a set we thought were the right ones and headed back to my flat. Of the keys in the set none would open the external security door to the flats so I had to buzz a neighbour, appologise and ask them to let me inside the block. Once in the other keys worked fine on the front door and we got in to find my usual pile of post and the keys for the car kim was going to drive.
After this things went smoothly. We left the flat, the car started first time, we headed off in the two cars to the local Tesco's garage so Kim could check the tyre pressures (they were a little low), we went my route back to the M25 avoiding any possile flooded bits and I headed off down the M4 to Cardiff while Kim went off down the M3 to Southampton. I had to slow down a bit 'cos of foggy patches and got back "home" at 2:15 AM. After all the cloud and earlier storms the sky was quite clear and I had to stop for a while just looking at the stars ... the great infinity of space always makes me feel awed, so many stars, so far away.
Finally then it was in and into bed ... oh and my flat keys were on the bedside cabinet where I'd left them :)